BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 4
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Head of Baku City Executive Authority Eldar Azizov.
Noting that the development of Baku is always in the spotlight, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- As you know, I personally exercise control over the improvement and creation work in the city. I have initiated many projects. Today, Baku is developing as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Visitors to Baku, including my colleagues, always share their impressions of the improvement and creation work under way in the capital and note that Baku is actually one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The environmental situation of the city is improving. Many important projects have been implemented. Sources that used to pollute air in the city in previous years have been eliminated. First of all, I should note the former Balakhani dump. This dump was releasing so much smoke that air quality decreased significantly, causing great harm to human health. A modern landfill has now been built at the site of the Balakhani dump. Important steps have been taken to segregate waste and incinerate solid waste. Major investments have been made and an incinerator has been built. We have thus eliminated this source of environmental disaster.
Another source of environmental disaster was the Bibiheybat oil field. Overall, the situation there was quite deplorable – oil-polluted areas, ponds. All this has now been eliminated. Currently, there is a beautiful park there, and it has been commissioned. A sports camp has also been built, a modern sports pool and other public facilities have been built.
In addition, Lake Boyukshor was also a source of great threat. The sewage, groundwater and oil-contaminated waters that used to be dumped into Lake Boyukshor for decades turned this area into a zone of ecological disaster. We have cleaned it up as well. A part of Lake Boyukshor fully meets environmental standards. Migratory birds are settling there. A new road has been built over the lake and work is under way to clean up the second part of it. The Olympic Stadium has been built on what used to be a swamp.
Tree planting significantly improves the environmental situation of the city. Millions of trees have been planted. Baku today is a city of green parks and squares. I think that for the number of parks Baku is in one of the leading places on a global scale. The length of our biggest park, the boulevard, has been increased from 3 to 15 kilometers. The central park imparts special beauty to the city now. A beautiful and landscaped park covering an area of 20 hectares has been established on an area called Sovetskaya. The site formerly owned by the Sattarkhan plant in front of the Heydar Aliyev Center and the Congress Center was also a source of environmental hazard. A 20-hectare park has been established there and people are very pleased to use these opportunities. The lamp factory, the slate factory and other enterprises that used to pollute air have been relocated and transport infrastructure has been created in their place. In other words, Baku today is a city rapidly developing both from an environmental point of view and in terms of comfort.
In addition, the city’s economy is being updated, and I have issued relevant instructions and made decisions for this purpose. I have repeatedly given you recommendations in connection with these issues, and work has been carried out this year to upgrade the city economy. As part of the state investment program and using the funds of the Contingency Fund of the President, the elevators are being updated and model courtyards being built. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is doing a great job in this direction. Funds in the amount of 10 million manats were allocated from the Contingency Fund to update the roofing.
What has been done in these three areas? What other work has been carried out to improve and develop the city? Please update me on that.
Head of the Baku City Executive authority Eldar Azizov: Dear Mr. President, I would like to note that visitors and residents of Baku truly appreciate the work being done of late. They unequivocally say that over the past 10 years, thanks to your efforts, Baku has reached a qualitatively new level. This is appreciated by the population and foreign visitors.
Today, there are 11,000 residential buildings operated by the Baku City Executive Authority and district executive authorities. These can be conditionally divided into those with and without courtyards. So there are 6,331 buildings with courtyards. In accordance with your order, a total of 273 model neighborhoods were created in 2018-2019. I would like to touch upon another issue here. First of all, it is worth mentioning the activities of Leyla Aliyeva and the IDEA Public Association she is the founder of. Dear Mr. President, thanks to the efforts of the Public Association, a new format is being applied to the city of Baku today – the format of inter-neighborhood parks. Facades, roofing and entrances to dozens of buildings in these territories have been renovated, the water supply system has been updated and conditions have been created for all age categories to have rest, do sports and spend their leisure effectively. This process continues.
Before the end of the year, another 15 new model neighborhoods will be commissioned. According to our estimates, in the coming years another 743 projects of this nature can be implemented. This process continues. Today, we would like to once again express our gratitude to the leadership of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and, first of all, to Leyla Aliyeva.
President Ilham Aliyev: This is a very important issue because these are the problems people face in their daily lives. We know that the condition of many buildings and entrances to them is unsatisfactory and the elevators are outdated. In some cases, inter-neighborhood courtyards are seized and public spaces disappear. Therefore, the establishment of model courtyards is of great importance. We need an integrated approach to this area. First of all, of course, courtyards should be comfortable and bright for the people. Security measures should be taken. Surveillance cameras are installed in the courtyards of cities in many developed countries. Surveillance cameras are now available in many places in Baku, and they play a major role in detecting crimes and holding criminals accountable. I believe that surveillance cameras should also be installed in courtyards and security should be provided at a higher level.
The same applies to the elevators. Several years ago, also in accordance with my order, the elevators of many buildings were replaced. Unfortunately, the elevators become unserviceable over time. Therefore, the elevators should be completely replaced and proposals should be submitted in connection with their operation. In general, we are now creating model courtyards. But if these courtyards are not properly maintained and if constant attention is not paid to them, then all the work done will go to waste after a year, two years, five years. So please think about it, provide suggestions on how we can make sure that the new infrastructure, including landscaping, is always under control and the facilities that are in need of repair are regularly repaired. What is the progress to date on the installation of elevators?
Eldar Azizov: Dear Mr. President, according to your order, funds in the amount of 32 million manats were allocated for the development of the elevator infrastructure in Baku. We held negotiations with the well-known German company Wittur, an agreement was signed and 430 elevators have been delivered to Baku to date. Of these, 130 have already been commissioned. This process continues. The said order provides for the purchase of 542 elevators. Based on your recommendations and instructions on how to effectively use budget funds, we held negotiations with this company and were thus able to save money. Using the saved funds, we intend to purchase an additional 39 elevators by the end of the year. Negotiations are ongoing.
President Ilham Aliyev: How many new elevators are to be installed in total?
Eldar Azizov: A total of 581 elevators will be installed before the end of this year, but our forecast for the coming years is to gradually replace up to 2,500 elevators.
President Ilham Aliyev: We must replace them too. The State Investment Program is under consideration now, so please submit your proposals so that the entire elevator infrastructure in Baku is fully upgraded, all elevators meet safety standards and are also in working condition.
Eldar Azizov: Let me report that a single electronic control center is being set up for the German company to service the originally installed 581 elevators. All problems occurring with elevators will be immediately communicated to this center for action.
President Ilham Aliyev: What is the situation with roofing? Winter is approaching. Initially, 10 million manats were also allocated from the Contingency Fund of the President for this purpose. Of course, it is impossible to repair all the roofs with these funds but my instruction to you was for a systematic implementation of all this work and its breakdown by years, so that the roofs of all buildings in the city of Baku fully meet the standards in the shortest possible time. What has been done and what is being planned on?
Eldar Azizov: In accordance with your order, this process is already being actively implemented in the city of Baku. There are plans to repair roofing of 380 buildings in the city. After the centralized acquisition of building materials, we conducted talks and achieved savings here. We will be able to repair roofing of 420 buildings, not 380. Negotiations have been held with companies. Your requirement regarding the importance of using the highest quality materials has been communicated. Taking into account the wishes of residents, we will accept the results of the work together with them. To date, work has already been completed on 150 roofs and the process continues. We plan to complete all the work by mid-November.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good, all this work needs to be done because there is a need for it. We need to try to make sure that all parts of the city of Baku are landscaped and problems of concern to our people, including issues related to construction, are eliminated. I have given relevant instructions about this. Sometimes places are seized for construction, sometimes orders are illegally issued and trees are cut down. We should thank our citizens. Often faced with such situations, they address relevant authorities. So this means public oversight. From now on, the rules of town-planning should be fully ensured in Baku. In all the cities, relevant coefficients apply to the construction of buildings. Unfortunately, these coefficients were exceeded by 10 or perhaps even more times earlier. In other words, all rules of urban development were violated. New multi-story buildings were built right in front of existing ones. Some of the so-called entrepreneurs deprived people living in old buildings of sunlight. Quite often the construction of houses was carried out in courtyards. In the old days, houses were built even in the courtyards of some schools. An end was put to that afterwards. So we need to enforce the rules of town-planning. Local executive bodies and, of course, the State Committee for Architecture and Construction should build their work at a high level so that all urban development standards are complied with. Of course, the executive authorities of districts should pay attention to our people at a high level. Sometimes people are made to go through various ordeals, their problems are ignored. Sometimes people are illegally required to pay money and facts of bribery occur. We receive such signals, the executive authorities of districts should make the right conclusion. Negative facts should not be allowed. It is necessary to pay maximum attention to the people. Representatives of executive authorities of districts should go out and meet with people in all the districts, not sit and do the paperwork in the office. Process has recently assumed large proportions on my instruction, but it is not at the proper level. According to my information, sometimes it is of a formality nature. Issues of concern to our people are ignored. Therefore, it is necessary to be extremely attentive. If people are concerned about something, it is necessary to respond. Of course, all issues should be considered objectively. Sometimes completely unreasonable issues are raised or they are purely personal in nature. But people often make fair proposals, raise issues of concern to them. Both the Baku city executive authority and the executive authorities of all districts should be extremely attentive to citizens. Thus, the city of Baku and all cities of Azerbaijan should systematically develop.
The city of Baku has a unique, distinctive and historical architectural appearance. This is our great asset. We are paying great attention to every historical building. The repairs of these buildings must be carried out so as not to disrupt their historical appearance.
Sometimes historical buildings are knocked down and ugly multi-story buildings are built instead. This must not be allowed. The architecture of Baku is our national wealth. Icherisheher is protected by UNESCO. I can say that not many cities in the world can be proud of such places as Icherisheher – it is our great asset. At the same time, every part of the city should be landscaped. In some places there is no street lighting at all. In settlements and many other places there are ground roads. I have already given a serious instruction to the “AzerAvtoYol” Agency in this regard. You should exercise control over that too. So every part of the city is dear to us. The city of Baku is not only about the center. We are creating the city infrastructure first of all for our citizens and then for tourists and foreign visitors. They, too, should feel comfortable in Baku, of course. But first of all we need to solve the problems of the city population. Therefore, you should bring together the heads of executive authorities of districts and hold a meeting both on landscaping and economic matters. First of all, the negative facts must be stopped. Red tape, bribery and indifference to citizens – all this must end. If someone does not correct their work in this area, then we will say goodbye to such people, and this will be the easiest punishment for them. We must develop our city. I want to repeat that Baku is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Additional measures on the development of the city will be taken in the future too.