BISHKEK. The Kyrgyz Government is studying the issue of construction of railways, which will connect not only Kashghar with Ferghana valley, but also Northern and Southern parts of Kyrgyzstan. Yesterday, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communication of Kyrgyzstan, Aizat Ajykeev, told RFE/RL that the main project consists of three stages:
'The three stages of the project of construction of the railway was adopted (in Kyrgyzstan). The first stage is the construction of the international railway Kashgar-Torugart-Jalalabad to prepare favorable conditions for (the foreign) investors. It leads to Ferghana valley. The second stage is the construction of a route between the town Balykchy and Karakeche (mines). It is about 155 km. We already have a technical and economic project for that. This is an important priority for us to build a railway which ties North and South. Balykchy-Karakeche stage is about 183 km. Then will be the third stage, a railway between Karakeche (mines) and Arpa valley for about 155 km.' Ajykeev said.
Some politicians have reservations on investments while emphasizing the importance of the project. Kyrgyz lawmaker Orozbek Duisheev told RFE/RL today: 'This (railway) will go through about 200 km land with severe conditions. Its price would be $4 million per km. The whole railway construction will be about 220 to 240 km, then its price would be as $600 - 700 million. It is hard to find such a money. I would say, nobody will give to the (Kyrgyz) government such a loan'.
Meanwhile, China has begun its part of construction of the international railway China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan, which, according to some experts, will reduce the Chinese railway to Europe by more than 1,300 km. The Chinese are using the Russian Trans-Siberian railway now.
Compiled and translated by Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev and edited by Bruce Pannier in Prague