Vladimir Putin on construction, utility and housing issues

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Vladimir Putin on construction, utility and housing issues
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Moscow must develop. However, agreement has already been reached that the controversial Timiryazevskaya Academy land plot in Moscow will be left in peace. The issue will be discussed by the government, but the Academy has to use its land effectively.

This is what the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday on the “Direct Line” television program when asked a question about this complicated case, in which the local authorities intended to appropriate the land in order to erect residential and non-residential buildings.

In general, a number of questions related to the construction, utility and housing services have been addressed to President Vladimir Putin within the course of his annual “Direct Line” program.

A woman from the Russian city of Omsk, located in Siberia, talked of the unsatisfactory condition of the city's road network, having confirmed her words with photographs of broken roads. Mr. Putin replied that the road problem has really become acute in the country. A large amount of money is allotted for repairs, but the issue continues to worry the citizens.

The road fund often uses funds inappropriately, a practice that should be changed.

Interestingly, approximately an hour later, the Mayor of Omsk called the studio and pledged that all 20 streets mentioned by the local woman will have been repaired by the 1st of May.

Commenting on questions about tariffs on housing and communal services and overhauling contributions, Mr Putin reminded those present that in the Soviet era the government didn't allot enough funds towards housing and utility services, and for that reason the housing stock has been gradually destroyed.

Last year the planned tariff growth was 8.7%. From July, it will have risen by 4%, but if 22% of gross household income goes on utility and communal payments, the family is eligible to receive compensation.

As for overhauls, they aren’t compulsory, but the amount of dilapidated housing in the country will increase sharply. Last year, 97 bln roubles intended for residential buildings overhaul was collected, but concluded contracts were valued at just 25 bln roubles. This issue has to be dealt with, the President stressed.

Speaking about the Kerch Bridge construction, the head of the state said that the main problem was the selection of an appropriate contractor. Some companies feared being affected by Western sanctions, whilst others were not satisfied with the final project price. At present, all problems have been resolved and the bridge will be constructed on time, Vladimir Putin assured the audience.

Answering a question about the environmental situation in the country, the President said that Russia produces 5.6 bln tons of waste per year and only half of it is utilized. The rest is buried or dumped. At the same time, the process itself of household waste collection and utilization is criminal. He pointed out that an ecology tax will be introduced in 2017. However, at present, enterprises should not be burdened with it, since it could cause certain difficulties in the industry.

That is why there are 2 options: either that the waste producing entities must build utilization plants at their own expense, or that the enterprises should have the possibility of selecting an operator on a regional level who will be engaged in the waste utilization process. Otherwise, the government will build the plants. On the whole, Vladimir Putin asked the All-Russia People's Front (ONF) to pay attention to the issue of waste gathering and utilization. “This is front-line work”, said the President.