Deputy Prime Minister Viktar Bura has sounded alarm over the slower-than-expected pace of housing construction in Minsk. Housing totaling 1.4 million square meters was initially projected to be built in the Belarusian capital city in 2009, but only 37 percent of the projected amount was finished in the first six months, Mr. Bura said at Tuesday’s meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The amount of housing built in Minsk fell by almost eight percent year-on-year in the first six months compared with other regions where it increased.
There are direct signs that the housing construction program for Minsk could be torpedoed, the vice premier noted. "Housing construction schedules drawn up by the Minsk City Executive Committee are a far cry from reality," he stressed.
Across Belarus, 3,097,800 square meters of housing was constructed in the first six months of this year, which was 51.6 percent of the amount projected for the entire year. The government earlier directed that 60 percent should be commissioned in the first half of the year.
"Many regions are trying to convince the government that there are objective reasons for the slower construction pace, citing the absence of vacant land, workers, infrastructure and funding," Mr. Bura said, noting that "personal reasons" also were a factor. "There is no proper work in provinces," he said.
Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorski suggested that local authorities should put forward proposals for the liability of officials in charge of housing construction projects.
He also expressed criticism of the country’s construction industry. "We've given them everything – machines, building materials, funds and personnel," Mr. Sidorski said. "But nobody works in three shifts. If they do not want to work they should be forced to work. We will take decisions."