Speech by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Leader of the Nation, H.E. Mr Emomali Rahmon Meeting with residents of Vorukh Village in Isfara City

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Dear representatives of the noble residents of ancient city of Isfara and the village of Vorukh!

My visit to the city of Isfara and our meeting is taking place within the celebration of the International Navruz Grand Holiday and the truly historic year for our beloved Tajikistan — the 30th anniversary of our state independence.

Let me take this opportunity to offer my sincerely congratulations to all the residents of ancient Isfara, the village of Vorukh and each of you on the occasion of Navruz and thank you for your creative and patriotic work and your warm and sincere welcome.

I would also like to recall that your achievements and progress clearly prove the high sense of national identity and patriotic spirit of the proud people of Isfara.

Isfara, with its huge production capacity, is one of the main industrial towns of Tajikistan, and significantly contributes to the national economic growth.

The processing industry, including the processing of agricultural products, ore, gas and oil, coal mining, metallurgy, electrical engineering and construction materials, form the base of the town’s economy.

According to official statistics, there are currently 51 various industrial enterprises operating in the city.

Thus, it is necessary to take additional actions to use all available resources and opportunities to further develop the industry and increase industrial, primarily the export-oriented goods.

I would like to recall that in the recent past several industrial enterprises of Isfara used to export their produce to dozens of countries of the region and the world.

In this regard, the heads of line ministries and agencies, the region and the city of Isfara have to mobilize all opportunities and resources to restore the export potential of the city.

To this end, I would like to emphasize that enhancement of entrepreneurship and the private sector development is one of the main ways for the effective and comprehensive use of the existing potential.

Taking into account its important role in overcoming socio-economic challenges, this issue is in the center of attention of the Government of the country. We have been taking necessary measures in this regard and have been offering benefits and privileges are provided for entrepreneurs.

As a result of the constant support by the Government of the country, the number of businesses has gradually been increasing in Isfara, and reached nearly 18.000 in 2020, which is 4.5 times higher compared to 2013.

According to the analysis, honorable entrepreneurs initiate and launch dozens of various facilities and buildings, including manufacturing enterprises in Isfara every year and thereby contribute to improving the living standards of urban and rural residents.

In particular, the process of establishment of enterprises for processing and packaging of fruits and vegetables in line with international standards has been scaling up in the city over the recent years and thereby strengthening the country’s export potential, which is commendable and worth to support.

In 1991, Isfara had two enterprises of canned fruits and vegetables and one enterprise for ethyl alcohol only.

During the years of independence, the number of these facilities has increased, and by 2020 the number of fruit and vegetable processing enterprises and other industrial enterprises has reached 20.

It is to be noted that the development of entrepreneurship and investment and the gradual increase in production indicators made it possible to improve the living standards of residents and the city’s budget revenues are growing.

For example, while in 2006 the city’s fiscal revenues amounted to only 11 million Somoni, in 2020 this figure increased by 10 times and reached 110 million Somoni.

The Government of the country pays special attention to the improvement of living conditions of urban and rural residents of Isfara, and its progress and prosperity, and during the period of independence has allocated 1,137 billion Somoni from the public budget for its socio-economic development.

At the same time, 24 public investment projects in various fields have been implemented in Isfara over this period with 330 million somoni disbursed to this date.

The implemented measures and the Government’s support led to dynamic development of all spheres of this heavenly corner of our dear Motherland, and now the image of the city has completely changed and the living conditions of its inhabitants has significantly improved.

With a view to ensuring the development of agriculture as a key to one of the strategic goals of our country — food security and access to healthy food, supply of processing enterprises with raw materials, increasing exports and, most importantly, creating new jobs, a series of specific actions have been taken in recent years.

As a result, in 2020 the gross agricultural output in the city amounted to 560 million Somoni and increased by 1.6 times compared to 2015.

In 2020, Isfara town put into operation 4 industrial enterprises creating 100 new jobs.

Last year, 2.480 new jobs were created in the city, which is about 6 percent of the total number of new jobs created in 2020 in Soughd Province.

I would like to recall that despite the positive trends, the creation of new jobs still does not satisfy the needs of the country.

In this regard, the officials in charge have to undertake additional actions to further create more jobs, especially permanent jobs and thereby reduce the intensive labor migration.

Business entities need to effectively use the benefits and incentives offered by the Government and be more proactive in creating new jobs.

Last year and during the first quarter of 2021, the city’s enterprises and entrepreneurs exported more than 17,000 tons of dried fruits, more than 400 tons of canned food and 320 tons of vegetables.

However, these figures are comparatively low against the existing capacity.

Based on the approved action plan we expect to construct 457 industrial, social, service and cultural facilities, including 9 industrial enterprises, 12 healthcare facilities, 47 educational facilities, 17 sport facilities, 12 cultural and recreational facilities, roads and bridges, residential and office buildings and other facilities by the 30th anniversary of our state independence. We believe these initiaitves will ensure further prosperity of urban and rural areas and improve people’s living standards.

As of March 1, 411 industrial, social and domestic facilities had been built and put into operation in the city with the use of all sources of financing.

Dear participants!

Isfara is not only a major industrial and agricultural town, but also an ancient and beautiful corner of our beloved Tajikistan. It is famous for its educated, skilled and hospitable people, as well as its pleasant climate, delicious fruits, unique architecture and historical sites.

Isfara is of a special status in the history of our people.

It is a town with more than 3000-year history, which has a great contribution to the development of Tajik people, and it needs to continue this important mission today — in the new phase of our national statehood as well.

We have proclaimed 2019-2021 as the “Period of Rural Development, Tourism and Folk Crafts” and the Government of the country has created a favorable environment for the development of tourism and mobilization of investment in this sphere.

Therefore, it is important to take effective measures to develop the sphere, in particular, to introduce the potential of Isfara as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country.

In this regard, it is necessary to pay attention to strengthening the existing capacity of the town, the development of crafts, including folk crafts, such as painting, carving, pottery, sewing and tourism, in particular, eco-tourism, medical and recreational tourism, historical and ethnographic, and cultural tourism, and to attach priority to the sector’s infrastructure and the use of effective means of introduction of historical and tourist sites.

The painting and carving works of Isfara’s craftsment, which today adorn the best buildings of Tajikistan, have many fans and are very prominent outside the country.

Zumrad Resort, where thousands of our citizens and foreigners have enjoyed its treatment and leisure services over decades, also attracts the attention of our people and citizens of other countries.

Isfara bordering with the Kyrgyz Republic, plays an important role in strengthening friendly and good neighborliness relations between the two countries.

In this regard, one of the main issues for residents of Isfara, including the village of Vorukh, is the delimitation and demarcation of the state border between Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.

I would like to inform the people of Tajikistan, especially the residents of Isfara and the village of Vorukh that the Government of Tajikistan has been running negotiations with the Kyrgyz Republic as early as since 2002 and our delegations of the Intergovernmental Commission on Delimitation and Demarcation have held more than 100 meetings to date.

In addition, during the high-level talks in October 2019, we agreed with the then President of the Kyrgyz Republic to upgrade the activities of the Intergovernmental Commission on Delimitation and Demarcation of the State Border to the level of deputies prime minister.

During the 19 years of the commission’s operation, 519.9km of the border has been determined and agreed upon, and a draft agreement on the state border was developed for signing.

Based on the agreement reached with the Kyrgyz colleagues, the agreement was supposed to be signed by the heads of state in May 2016.

At the proposal of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Government of Tajikistan reviewed this document and completed its internal procedures.

However, the agreement on the concurred territory has yet to be signed for reasons beyond Tajikistan’s control.

The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan is interested in completing the demarcation of the state border between Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic at the earliest possible, and signing this document would enable to delimit more than half of the state border.

I would like to emphasize one more important point that during the entire period of negotiations, we never had the issue of exchanging Vorukh with any other territory and it would be hardly possible to have this issue.

The international relations experience shows that relationship between neighbouring countries shall be based on mutual respect, tolerance and consideration of national interests of the parties.

To this end, I have to emphasize that border issues and territorial disputes, coordination of the state border-line and its demarcation is a complex process, and great efforts and time would be needed to address these issues.

It goes without saying that such disputes should be resolved based on the mutual interests of the parties and their approved legal framework.

Tajikistan stays strongly committed for negotiations and finding mutually acceptable solutions to the existing issues based on the national interests of both parties.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again call upon the people of Isfara and the village of Vorukh to live with neighbors in a friendly environment and good neighborliness, to be patient, leave away emotions, since such issues can be resolved only through negotiations and not emotions. We have no other way of solution to such issues.

Dear Compatriots!!

The Government of Tajikistan is well aware about the problems of Isfara and particularly of Vorukh and Chorkuh villages.

We experience the shortage of educational institutions in the field of education, lack of latest information and communication technologies, shortage of teachers and many other open issues, and we already mandated the relevant public agencies to address these issues.

In addition, lower number of manufacturing enterprises, the lack of jobs, especially for women and girls, and the lack of short-term vocational training centers for youth, and lack of preschool facilities are among the issues faced by the urban and rural residents of Isfara.

The leadership of the ministries of education and science, labor and employment, industry and new technologies and other relevant public agencies have also been mandated to address these issues.

However, local authorities, generous entrepreneurs and other honourable people across the country should also make greater contribution to eliminate existing shortcomings in the city of Isfara, especially in the villages of Vorukh and Chorkuh.

Dear Friends!

The valuable role of patriotic and dedicated youth of Isfara is vivid in all landscaping and development initiatives implemented in Isfara.

I can confidently underline that the young people of Isfara are among the most proactive youth of our country, contributing both in development activities, and in protection of peace and stability, national unity, state and public security and the rule of law.

The level of their political precautiousness and awareness in the implementation of government initiatives to combat extremism has been improving every year.

In this regard, in the light of the volatile and complicated situation in the globe, I reiterate that we should always be precautious, respect and protect the interests of our nation and state.

With a view to protecting the young generation from the influence of any alien ideas and extremist groups, it is necessary to ensure consolidation between the families, schools, government agencies and communities, including celebrities and experienced figures.

At the same time, the executive authories of the town, relevant government agencies, intelligentsia and activists of the city need to seriously strengthen public awareness, especially among young people and teenagers to understand the goals and intentions of extremist and superstitious forces and support their patriotic initiatives.

It is gratifying that in recent years, Isfara, and especially the villages of Vorukh and Chorkuh, were among the first to achieve the target for conscription to the Armed Forces, which also testifies the high level of patriotism of young people in the town and its villages.

Vorukh and Chorkuh villages were among the first to achieve this year’s spring conscription target in a relatively short time, more precisely by April 1.

Distinguished Compatriots!

Isfara has a very ancient history, and its inhabitants have been engaged in land management and agriculture since ancient times.

According to historical sources, this city and its surroundings prospered during the Samanids period especially, and resembled an orchard.

According to Zakhiriddin Bobur’s Boburnom?, “Isfara, including Vorukh, had abundant water and pleasant gardens. It had many fertile trees and most of its orchards comprised almond trees.

Its inhabitants are pure tajiks living in mountainous areas, and speak Persian. Isfara consists of four parts – Isfara, Vorukh, Sukh and Hushyor.

This information and other sources makes it clear that Isfara is a historical homeland of Tajiks, and famous historians and archaeologists confirmed this fact.

The historical sites located in the town and its villages prove that the inhabitants of this area were indigenous people thousands of years ago.

Traditions and customs preserved by the inhabitants of Isfara and its villages to this date once again confirm the antiquity of this place.

Therefore, scientists and researchers of the country need to expand their research activities in this part of the country and implement new scientific works on the ancient history and culture of the people of this land.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Isfara, with such an ancient history, particularly developed during the period of our independence and became one of the advanced towns in Tajikistan.

During the period of independence, i.e., from 1991 to early 2021, the population of Isfara increased from 118,000 to 280,000, by almost 2,5 times, and the population of the village of Vorukh more than doubled, increasing from 20,000 to more than 43,000.

Today, the products of industrial enterprises of this town have many buyers not only in the country, but also in the global markets and in neighboring countries.

It is the dedicated entrepreneurs of Isfara, who export Tajik fruits abroad, and supply many countries of the world, including various countries in Asia, Europe and America with Isfara’s dried fruits and apricots.

I am convinced that the hardworking people and patriotic entrepreneurs of Isfara will further expand their activities in creation of industrial enterprises equipped with the latest technologies and make greater contribution to increasing production, exports and creating new jobs.

I would also like to request the ministries of industry and new technologies, agriculture and other relevant agencies to conduct a training workshop here to replicate the experience of industrial enterprises and farmers of Isfara in other areas.

During the years of independence, most of the streets of the town and its villages have been renovated and reconstructed, several new bridges have been built and some of them have been renovated.

During my previous visit, we commissioned more than 12 small and large facilities mostly built by local entrepreneurs. During this trip also, we witnessed the tangible outcomes of the efforts of entrepreneurs putting into operation dozens of modern facilities and enterprises.

At the same time, landscaping and development activities continue in every village of the city, and the image of the villages has completely changed.

It is to be noted that Isfara farmers develop livestock and crop production as well, and make significant progress especially in the cultivation of cereals and potatoes. Given the advanced land management skills of Isfara farmers, we held a workshop for the country’s farmers during one of my first working trips to the city. Following this trip, the local farmers developed more than 1000 hectares of land in the Mohpari area and established fruit orchards and started growing other agricultural crops.

It is commendable that experienced farmers of this land have planted apricot orchards in stony lands, and grow up to 800 kg of grain from one hectare of land.

At the same time, I would like to underscore that the city’s agriculture capacity still remains untapped.

There is a great opportunity for the development of horticulture, including intensive orchards, fish farming, particularly trout, food industry and industrial production, including mining in the future.

I would like to once again recall that Isfara and its villages are one of the best tourist destinations and they have a great capacity for the development of domestic and international tourism.

In this regard, a part of the facilities in Zumrad resort was reconstructed and put into operation based on our request, and now the construction of additional facilities in this resort is underway.

The construction of additional facilities will create 1000 new jobs, the resort will have capacity to accommodate more than 1500 people concurrently and become one of the main places of treatment, recreation and tourism for the citizens of the country as well as for foreign guests and tourists. This, in turn, would promote the creation of hundreds of new jobs throughout Tajikistan.

At the same time, it is important for the local entrepreneurs to proactively contribute to construction of tourism infrastructure, including hotels and other service facilities.

One of the challenges in Isfara city and its villages is the population’s supply with quality drinking and irrigation water. The Government of the country is taking additional measures to address this issue.

This morrning, we commissioned a drinking water pipeline in Shurob settlement. The public budget allocated 12 million Somoni for construction of this facility, which will ensure access by more than 15,000 people to quality drinking water.

We have also earlier launched a drinking water line to supply 9,000 residents of Tojikon and Sangtuda neighborhoods in the village of Vorukh.

In addition, we put into operation a new school for 1,000 students in Sangtuda village, administrative buildings of the units of the State Committee for National Security and the Ministry of Interior, an intensive orchard and a service center with outdoor and indoor sports fields, a swimming pool and a recreation center.

After this meeting with you, we will commission several other new facilities, including a supplementary building of educational institution No 23 for 480 students, State Flag Square, Palace of Culture with a wedding hall, a library and a modern service center with a school uniform factory, handicrafts and confectionery workshop in the administrative centre of Vorukh village.

We have spent more than 45 million Somoni for these development projects and thereby promoted employment access by hundreds of local residents.

Distinguished Participants!

We are proud of the will of Isfara residents and with the honor and dignity of its villagers.

This proud and hardworking people have been facmous for their longstanding hospitality and generosity.

Especially, during the independence, the proud residents of Isfara supported the policy pursued by the Head of State and the Government of the country and have been working hard for the prosperity of every corner of the city and its villages.

In particular, the glorious and honorable youth of Isfara make a valuable contribution to the creation and further development of the city.

Availing the participation of Isfara people, I would like to reiterate an important issue that I have raised in different regions of the country on many occasions.

According to the conclusions of leading international organizations and world-class experts, 2021 will be one of the worst years in the last 100-year history of humanity due to the climate change and its negative consequences — drought, water shortages, negative consequences of infectious diseases, including coronavirus, and growing unemployment.

According to the international organizations, the population of twenty countries have already encountered hunger and poverty due to rising prices and food shortages.

In this context, we should effectively use all opportunities, including household and presidential lands, to produce as much food for every family as possible and prevent our people’s suffering from food shortages.

In conclusion, I would like to thank every resident of the city of Isfara and its villages, including the proud residents of Vorukh village for their creative efforts and warm welcome. I firmly believe that by the the grand celebration of the 30th anniversary of our beloved Tajikistan’s state independence the honorable and dedicated people of this ancienty city will not only fulfill their commitments in a timely manner and high quality, but also will implement landscaping and development activities more than expected, and thereby transform the city of Isfara and its villages into one of the advanced corners of the country and a beautiful tourist destination.

I wish success to all patriot and hardworking residents of ancient Isfara in this noble cause.

I would also like to emphasize that we must have a high sense of national identity, love our sacred Motherland — independent Tajikistan sincerely, and protect it as we do our lives, improve it, and be grateful that we have a sovereign state, a prosperous homeland and a heavenly ancestral land.

I wish you continued health and prosperity, dear compatriots!

Source: National Information Agency of Tajikistan