Working trip to Gomel Oblast

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko was made familiar with progress in reconstructing a faulty automobile bridge over the Pripyat River in Zhitkovichi District, Gomel Oblast on 27 April.

“Since the bridge is so important, then we need a good one. We cannot spare any expense for the bridge project. If we try to spare a million or two, we will get either a narrow bridge or some other imperfection… This is why a solid bridge has to be constructed. And a sufficiently broad one at that,” said the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko was informed how vehicles and pedestrians can cross the river now. In particular, a ferry is used to carry heavy vehicles weighing over 20 tonnes. Other vehicles use the pontoon bridge. Over 50,000 vehicles have used the bridge so far.

The head of state was told in detail about the project to reconstruct the bridge and how explosives will be used to demolish the central faulty span of the bridge.

While the standing bridge is made of reinforced concrete, the new bridge span will be made of metal by Voronezhstalmost, one of Russia’s most prominent bridge construction companies. In addition to offering a reliable and strong structure the solution will reduce the overall weight of the bridge by several times. The new metallic bridge span is supposed to be installed in July 2018.

The President was informed that the preliminary cost of the project to reconstruct the bridge is close to Br44 million.

The head of state was told that apart from the faulty bridge over the Pripyat River in Zhitkovichi District there are also four identical bridges and some 20 bridges of similar designs in Belarus. Many of them require maintenance or reconstruction. The organization of the relevant work with future in mind was mentioned. Aleksandr Lukashenko was informed that a private company in Mogilev Oblast is capable of making the necessary metal structures. “If we can do it, you should take a look, get together with specialists and designers, calculate prices, and make them domestically. Since there are 20, then we need 20 [bridges]. And we should decide which ones first,” noted the Belarusian head of state.

Specialists believe that as the bridges are reconstructed, it is necessary to keep their current look first and foremost while ensuring safe operation and an adequate life span. Reinforced concrete structures will be replaced with metal ones only where it is truly necessary.

“We have agreed that we need this bridge [in Zhitkovichi District] ready by Great October Revolution Day. A gift to the people. Just the way we do things. All the work must be completed. As for the future, I would like you to examine the other similar bridges and make proposals on the sequence of their replacement or reconstruction,” summed up the President. “The bridge in Gomel is the next one. I want that factory to start making a bridge for Gomel,” added Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Apart from that, the development of Belarus’ transport and transit potential was also discussed during the working trip as well as the continued construction and reconstruction of motorways, the financing of these projects, including using external sources. The construction of the second runway in the Minsk National Airport was also mentioned. The head of state was assured that all the operations for building and equipping the runway will be finished by 7 November 2018. Attention was drawn to the growing passenger traffic the airport has to handle. The construction of new terminals may be in order in the future.

The President also visited Turov Dairy Company during his working trip to Zhitkovichi District.

He gave an instruction to check all milk processing companies in the country for compliance with three.

According to the head of state, milk producers should supply raw materials to successful milk processing plants, in the first place. This will increase their workload, and the government budget will get additional revenue in the form of taxes.

“This is the kind of policy we want instead of clinging to less efficient enterprises for more than 20 years,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The President gave three criteria to analyze all milk processing plants: the salaries, the cost of raw materials, and their contribution to the budget. Inefficient companies must be closed or upgraded for the deep processing of milk.

Turov Dairy Industrial Complex is quite a successful enterprise, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. However, sometimes it does not receive raw materials from regional farms. The local authorities are better off supplying raw materials to the plants with a higher tax rate.  “I am not ready for any conclusions so far. I ask you to get things straight and tell me whether anyone wastes raw materials at low-performing companies," Aleksandr Lukashenko warned.

The President was briefed on the fulfillment of his instructions to increase the milk processing capacity and make high value-added products using cutting-edge technologies in Belarus, in general, and in Gomel Oblast and at the Turov-based plant, in particular.

The head of state was also told about an innovative project to install a second line and got informed about its technical characteristics, financial situation and development prospects. Aleksandr Lukashenko visited some workshops, learned more about high-technology milk processing technologies, the current lineup of products and those to be made in the future.