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Mаry Mamyan

No Buyers, Only Sellers at Land Auction in Armenian Village of Nor Gyugh

Yet another land sale auction this year in the village of Nor Gyugh in Kotayk Province was cancelled due to lack of bids.
Villagers say no one wants to buy land here — all are selling. Many of the residents of this village less than 20 km from Yerevan take out bank loans to do agricultural work; however, not making their expected income, they sell their property. Only level 1 arable lands are cultivated in Nor Gyugh, while lower quality lands are mainly sold to pay off debts. 

There are few land plots in the town's reserve fund, but they are primarily fallow lands. Some villagers try to cultivate the land and yield harvest, but after not earning an income for 1–2 years, they give up. Here, they mainly grow vegetables, but as in other villages, only the resellers benefit. Resellers buy the produce from villagers at a low price, selling it high in the city. Some of the men in the village periodically work abroad to both cover their debts and meet the needs of their families.  

Village mayor Grisha Tadevosyan said the situation in the town last year was relatively good compared this year. "The budgetary fund is empty; we only have debts," he says. In previous years, the budget was comprised of funds from land sales, which are now non-existent, despite the fact that the cost of residential land here is 1,242 AMD (around $3 USD) per square meter. Villagers are selling the land cheaply to pay off their debts. 

The debt mentioned by the mayor accumulated as a result of installing sewage pipes in the village. The village didn't have drainage; work began on it, but it was suspended as the village administration didn't pay part of the expenses. There is currently a debt of about 17 million AMD ($41,780).

On one hand, the mayor ties the situation to poor socioeconomic conditions, and on the other hand, comparing it to situation 20 years ago, he says things were worse then. 

The village is close to both the city of Abovyan and the capital, Yerevan. Residents have a close connection to the cities. The mayor explains that international agencies that implement and co-finance various programs in communities don't include the communities close to the capital. He believes that border villages need this assistance more. 

The issue of irrigation and drinking water in Nor Gyugh is partly solved, while the only repaired road in the village is the main street. The mayor insists that repairing the roads costs huge sums of money, which he cannot carry out "even if [he] sells the entire village." One of the kindergarten schools is not operational, while the school building became damaged after the 1988 earthquake and is considered an emergency level 3 building. Though some repair work has been done, the village needs a new school. 

"There are a lot of things you have to do, but you have to keep an eye on your pocket," says Tadevosyan. Widespread privatization after the collapse of the Soviet Union greatly damaged the economy, while the elimination of collective farms had a negative impact on agriculture. "Now the villager is left with his torment, but the village has to live for the city to live," he says.

In his opinion, for agriculture to develop, agricultural loans should not be provided at such high interest rates. At the same time, he's convinced that this situation is temporary. "God willing, if there is peace in the country, the rest will gradually straighten itself out," he concludes.

Comments (2)

Не Нор Гехи, а Нор Гюх. Это разные села. Не нужно путать. Насчет аукциона - никто из жителей не знает про это, вот и нету заявок. Земли распродали без аукциона. Свободных земель практически нету. Мне с трудом достался свободный участок. Питьевая вода в селе левая, без счетчиков, и не принадлежит Джрмуху. Прокладывать трубы жителям новокупленных участков приходится за свой счет. Электричество хоть и подключают без проблем, и новые столбы устанавливают без проблем, но напряжение в сети часто падает вплоть ниже 160 вольт. Мощности не хватает.
Նոր Գյուղի վիճակակը կարելի է ասել , որ ամբողջ Հայաստանի մարզերում է այդպես: Թող երկրին խաղաղություն լինի, բայց Հայաստանի այս կառավարումով երբեք էլ չի ուղղվի...

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