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Polar Circle city continues 'housing-compression' program

The authorities decided to begin the program in the Vorgashor settlement, as it has all infrastructures necessary for living in the Arctic conditions

SYKTYVKAR, January 23. /TASS/. A mono-industrial city in the Komi Region continues the first stage of program to relocate people from half-uninhabited houses. The first stage is due to finish by end of January. The region offers 100 newly-repaired flats, the city's head Igor Guryev told TASS.

"We are finalizing the first stage of our 'housing-compression' program, for which the republic's budget has allocated 60 million rubles ($1.1 million). This money will be used to repair 160 flats in the Vorgashor settlement. 100 flats are ready now, and 47 of them have been distributed, formalities continue. The remaining 60 flats will be ready by end of January, unfortunately the construction materials' supplies had delays," the city's mayor said.

According to him, at the first stage, the Mayor's Office plans saving about 17 million rubles ($300 thousand), which it had to pay for heating of uninhabited municipal flats in the settlement. As the program is completed, the Mayor's Office will be saving up to 160 million rubles ($2.8 million).

Diversified effect

"150-160 million rubles is the money we pay every year for heating flats,where nobody lives. As of now, in Vorkuta and nearby settlements about 4,500 municipal flats are uninhibited, but we have to heat them, as in other flats of those houses people do live. Sometimes, it happens so that one or two families live in a house section," Guryev said.

With the "compressing" program, the local authorities will be saving money, and, besides, will move people from outdated houses and far-away settlements, where necessary infrastructures are not always available.

The authorities decided to begin the program in the Vorgashor settlement, as it has all infrastructures necessary for living in the Arctic conditions, and there about 800 flats remain idle. The settlement has twelve apartment houses, which used to get frozen in low temperatures because of outdated communications, and people from those houses would be moved to other flats first of all. Thus, the maintenance services will be able to cut those houses from the infrastructures.

"The program's second stage is planned for 2018, when we hope the budget will allocate a similar amount of money, I mean it will be about 60 million rubles. With that money we shall finalize the work in Vorgashor and will begin moving people from the neighboring low-populated settlements - Komsomolsky, Zapolyarny and Tsementnozavodsky, and further on - the Sovetsky district," Guryev said.

New flats’ conditions

The program's term is five years, and it would require about 250 million rubles ($4.4 million). The newly repaired flats have plastic windows, metal entrance doors, new floors, new equipment and renovation. The people receive flats which are of the same size as their outdated housing. The local authorities meet special requirements if, for example, families have members with limited abilities, the administration's head said.

The Komi Region’s Head Sergei Gaplikov told TASS, the money saved under this program will be used for organization of better living conditions in Vorkuta - a backbone zone in the Arctic. "By cutting expenses on serving empty flats, we are receiving money to develop effective infrastructures," he said.

Vorkuta is a mono-industrial city in the Komi Region. It is the third biggest city beyond the Polar Circle with population of about 60-80 thousand. About 7,000 residents are employed with coal production. The only enterprise is Vorkutaugol, 100% of which belongs to Severstal. Practically all the coal produced in Vorkuta is used in metallurgy.