Larisa Paremuzyan

Students Grill Lori Regional Administrator Re: Tailings Dam and Annual Medical Exams

In an Armenian version of a town hall meeting, Lori Regional Administrator Artour Nalbandyan met with 32 local residents yesterday, most of whom presented requests and petitions dealing with employment, health and other social matters.

This reporter was present at the meeting and what I found particularly strange was that adults looking for jobs were represented either by their parents or wives.

Samvel Moukouchyan, an Alaverdi resident, requested that the Regional Administrator find work for his daughter who graduated seven years ago from the Vanadzor Teachers Institute.

Nalbandyan suggested that the family keep tabs on the local Lori Province paper for appropraite job vacancies for teachers.

Irina Kirakosyan, another local resident, asked for a job for her married daughter who also graduated from the Vanadzor Teachers Institute; in this case as a psychologist

Nalbandyan replied that while there was a need for psychologists in the schhol system, many schools were in no position to hire them..

He noted that school enrollment had dropped by 1,300 as compar5ed to last year and commented that the regional government would be hard pressed to provide work to the 500 students who graduate annually from the Institute.

Students from ten communities participating in the World Vision "Alaverdi Regional Development Project" also raised issues dealing with annual medical exams for students and that more attention should be paid by the government regarding the Akhtala mine’s tailing dam.

Nalbandyan responded that he was aware of the environmental problems surrounding the tailings dam and promised to organize an in-depth discussion of the matter withy the participation of the mine’s management and the students.