September 28, 2016
Construction is under supervision of the new settlers "Kazakhstanskaya Pravda", September 28, 2016

For the first time in the history of the Cisurals two villages are changing their addresses at the same time. These are Berezovka and Bestau villages located in Burlin district. Next year they will cease existing on the map of the region.

Lyudmila Korina, West Kazakhstan region 

Decision on resettlement was taken upon completion of economic and technical evaluation of the Karachaganak project, which suggested increasing of the sanitary - protection zone of oil and gas condensate field. Therefore, the optimal solution was found to resettle the villages falling into it. It is worth noting that the residents of the villages have been insisting on resettlement for a few years, citing the proximity of the field. And in November 2014 several children in Berezovka school felt unwell. Although numerous inspections, including closely held republican interdepartmental commission investigation did not establish connection between these cases and the effect of oil and gas condensate field on the environment, the situation was brought under control of the Government and local authorities. 

Consortium Karachaganak Petroleum Operating b.v., which includes Royal Dutch Shell, Eni, Chevron, Lukoil, NC KazMunaiGas, expressed sincere concern for the health of the children, and fully took over all costs of resettlement. Immediately the goal was set: to carry out the resettlement in full compliance with the legislation of Kazakhstan and international standards. For this a considerable preparatory work was done. Specialized centres were involved in joint efforts. In the first place they took into account the interests of the villagers. Meetings were held with representatives of state bodies, surveys and questionnaires of the villagers to be resettled were performed. Thus, with absolute certainty the preferable resettlement option was determined for each family. Some wished to receive new apartments in Aksai, which is the administrative centre of Burlin district and Karachaganak field. Others decided not to change the rural lifestyle and preferred farmsteads with land plots for private subsidiary farming. 

The process of resettlement is divided into two phases. 82 families already moved to two multi-storey apartment buildings in Aksai during the first phase. This are war veterans, invalids of the first and second groups, families with disabled children and families, whose children suffered in November 2014. Within the framework of the second phase two apartment buildings in microdistrict Karachaganak-1 are being built, and one hundred houses with plots of land and outbuildings in the microdistrict Araltal. 

"The life does not stand still" - says Akim of Burlin district Aldiyar Khalelov. "We understand that resettlement is a life-changing event for every family. Therefore, we try to consider all comments and suggestions received. This year, we held two "open days", where we addressed all emerging questions. The commission is established, which includes representatives of the village residents, nominated by the villagers to be resettled. Quality of construction works was and is of paramount importance. They are carried out quickly, but not hastily. Today concrete works are carried out for monolithic frame in nine-storey apartment buildings designed for 153 apartments each. One hundred houses are being built in Araltal. Half of the houses have three rooms and four rooms. Brickwork is complete, and the laying of utilities started. Residents of Berezovka and Bestau control the quality of construction works from the beginning of the laying of foundations and until the completion of construction. Without a doubt, this is the most thorough and in some cases even picky control. Such interest is understandable”.  

For implementation of its social projects KPO involves only Kazakhstani companies. Construction of houses for the resettlement project is done by LLP Stroitelnaya Initsiativa and Marasant company. As the Deputy Operations Director of LLP Stroitelnaya Initsiativa Zhandos Bekmagabetov told us, the customer constantly monitors both the quality and compliance with schedule. The team is well aware that it was entrusted with important work and tries to completely justify this trust. Contacts with future new settlers are also going to benefit the common cause. 

Natalia Buldina - a member of the initiative group on resettlement told that her husband is a native of Berezovka. She has been living in the village since 1997; that is almost 20 years. Of course, it is not easy to part with home grounds. Although the residents were explained several times that regular monitoring did not reveal the presence of harmful or polluting substance in the air of any of the villages located along the perimeter of the protection zone, the proximity to the field caused some apprehension. She considers the decision on resettlement as forced but the best option. In Berezovka she has small but reliable business - a grocery store. Her husband works in the company, providing a stable gas supply to the village. They are, of course, concerned about employment at a new place, but at the same time assured that the authorities will keep their promises. Natalia plans to open the same grocery shop in Araltal. After all, one hundred houses is a whole microdistrict. Hence, there will be demand for groceries. Buldin family has two garages in the yard. They intend to disassemble and move them to a new location. This moving of household buildings is welcomed by the commission. The family has three children. The eldest daughter is married. According to the developed procedure, adult children that have families and still live with the parents are provided with separate housing. Therefore, Natalia finds that in this respect, their family was lucky. She also approves of the idea of people's control over the quality of construction and, despite her busy schedule, spared no time for site visits.

According to the resettlement program, all residents at a new location shall have equivalent or more comfortable conditions. Basis for calculation of the living space is the following. Provided apartments in size are not less than those in Berezovka or Bestau villages. At least 15 square meters should be allocated for each family member. But if an existing household is bigger, the new settlers will receive a more spacious new housing. Also compensation for outbuildings, fruit trees and land plots is provided. It is calculated based on evaluation of the assets of each household. To ensure that all the provisions of the program are very clear and understandable, six information brochures are issued, where the most detailed explanation on the whole range of issues related to the resettlement is provided. 

"All the procedures are as transparent as possible and are under state and public control", explains Aldiyar Khalelov. "The district akimat set up a special service and a contact phone number, where any resident of Berezovka and Bestau can call. The rural akim, who communicates directly with future settlers on a daily basis, reports to us every week about contacts with the residents and timely solution of all the issues. The second phase of the program includes a mechanism of compensation to those, who was involved in small business or farming in the villages. They will be rendered all possible assistance in restoration of the business after resettlement. This instruction was given to the department of entrepreneurship and land relations. There are no unsolvable problems, and they cannot be. For example, the residents offered to draw a process technical water line to each farmstead. Therefore, it was decided to provide all households with water wells. This item was included by the customer in the construction plan. 

Now a kindergarten for 320 children in microdistrict Karachaganak 1 is being built, and construction of a school for 300 seats is about to start in Araltal. And although the beginning of resettlement was initially planned for the end of this year, the residents of Berezovka and Bestau villages offered to move it to the spring of 2017. Their arguments are reasonable. They want their children to finish a school year in the same school, with the teachers that they are used to. 

Those who have already resettled to Aksai during the first phase of the resettlement program are happy with the quality of their apartments. The organizers of this unique project expect its second phase to be equally successful.