Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tajikistan dam project hit by controversy

Terra Daily via UPI: Tajikistan's plan to ease its chronic electricity and water shortages by building a gigantic dam has run into problems mainly because of the government's unusual fundraising approach. After an unsuccessful attempt at partnership with Russia, the country's colonizer in the former Soviet Union, the government embarked on a program of encouraging -- critics say pressuring -- every Tajik to buy shares in the undertaking.

The prospect of share ownership won't at all be unwelcome in a country on the cusp of experimental capitalism but for the huge cost and the meager average earnings of the citizenry. By last count the dam would cost $1.4 billion -- about $200 million more than Tajikistan's annual budget and a vast sum when split, evenly or not, among the country's 7.3 million people. Industry estimates have described that official cost estimate as conservative and cited an alternative figure of $2.2 billion….

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