Kyrgyz MPs discuss distribution of money raised for plane crash victims

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BISHKEK (TCA) — On March 31, the Ata-Meken (Fatherland) parliamentary opposition faction discussed distribution of money received by the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Kyrgyzstan to help residents of Dacha Su village that suffered from a plane crash on January 16.

The cargo Boeing 747 of the Turkish company ACT Airlines crashed onto the village near the Manas International Airport located 23 kilometers northwest of Bishkek. The Boeing fell on the Dacha Su village located 1-1.5 kilometers from the airport. As a result, 39 people died, including 35 local residents and four crew members, and 19 houses were ruined. The aircraft was on a flight from Hong Kong to Istanbul.

As of March 30, 2017, more than 100 million soms have been raised for the victims by legal entities and private individuals of Kyrgyzstan. ACT Airlines has recently transferred $600 thousand (42 million soms) as compensation for the victims. The Kyrgyz Government is now considering the distribution of the funds.

It is necessary to fairly distribute the money among the victims and also to consider the resettlement of 260 families living in the Dacha Su village to safe areas, since there are rules that no settlements should be located near the airport.

The governmental commission estimated the amount of compensation for the damage of the air crash at 195 million soms. The first tranche received testifies the willingness and goodwill of the Turkish side to pay the corresponding payments, said Vice Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Muhammetkaly Abulgaziev, who heads the commission.

The distribution of the money to the victims and relatives of the deceased will start after the full requested amount is received from the Turkish side, he added.

“We also expect to receive compensation for the victims and relatives of the dead, relying on international norms. If the relatives of the deceased and the victims accept the suggestions (the amount of compensation) of the Turkish side, the issue will be resolved in a pre-trial order,” Abulgaziev said.

The compensation for the deaths of Kyrgyz citizens should be commensurate with compensation of the crew, Kyrgyz MPs say. The Government should defend its position on this issue and not to be afraid of lawsuits, they added.

The reason of the landing

The MPs asked government officials to clarify the reason of the Turkish plane’s landing at the Manas airport. Earlier, the Kyrgyz side said that the Boeing needed a refuel and crew change. However, Turkish specialists said that unloading was to be carried out. Why are there contradictions, the MPs asked.

Board Chairman of the Manas International Airport Emir Chukuev said that the plane needed a refuel. It would not reach Istanbul with its cargo and the remaining fuel on board. There was no official letter asking for unloading from the Turkish side, he said.

Resettlement

The Ata Meken deputies insist on allocating land for the families of the crash victims in Bishkek. There is no vacant land for construction in Bishkek, but the Dacha Su residents, after receiving the compensation, will be able to buy plots near the capital. There are free lands in the Kemin and Issyk-Ata districts, but the villagers do not agree to live there, although all of them have come to Bishkek from the regions.

According to official data, 1,063 people live in 250 houses in Dacha Su.

The Government has temporarily rented houses and apartments in Bishkek for the victims.

The MPs believe that the Government should start distributing 100 million soms raised by Kyrgyz citizens and build multi-storey houses on a turn-key basis. The residents of Dacha Su should be resettled, as they live in a risk zone, the MPs said.

However, the plenipotentiary representative of the Government in the Chui province (where the village is located) said that resettlement of the entire village is not discussed.

Earlier in March, the parliament discussed demands of Dacha Su residents, who held a rally asking the authorities to clarify the reason of the crash and who should pay the compensation and when and to whom it will be paid.

The villagers also asked to set up a parliamentary commission to consider these issues, and to identify the danger zone around the airport.

Background

The history of Dacha Su village began in the 1960s, when the Soviet government, as part of the civil aviation development project, decided to build a modern airport for Bishkek, Manas. The airport builders constructed wooden houses for temporary living. With time, the area turned into a summer vacation settlement (dacha).

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, land plots in Dacha Su were privatized and resold from one owner to another. Currently, mainly internal migrants from different regions of Kyrgyzstan live in the village.

According to the Civil Aviation Agency of Kyrgyzstan, construction of houses near international airports is prohibited within a radius of three kilometers. For airports serving domestic flights, the distance is two kilometers.