6 august 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, on a working visit to the Kemerovo Region, meets with miners at the Komsomolets mine


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met with miners at the Komsomolets coal mine as they were changing shifts. The miners had just finished working in the mine and came up to the surface in a special elevator.

One of the miners asked Mr Medvedev why it costs more to transport coal than to actually produce it. Mr Medvedev said that he had discussed the issue during a meeting held on a train that day on the development of rail transport. 

The Prime Minister said that at the request of Governor Aman Tuleyev he even had to intervene personally to help work out a solution. “We have yet to streamline the rail transport system since the rolling stock has been divided up,” the Prime Minister said.

“The rolling stock is still partially state-owned, but a significant portion of it is already owned by private companies. There are about 1,200 such companies in Russia, and some are very small with ineffective traffic control. As a result, trains are running half empty and tariffs are rising.” 

“We need to tackle this issue, as the eastern markets, where our main consumers are located, are growing rapidly," the Prime Minister said. "China, for example, will remain a coal consumer for the next 30 to 40 years. This field has very good prospects, but we need to streamline it from within and we will definitely do that."

During the conversation, a miner asked Mr Medvedev to help the region complete the construction of the Kemerovo - Leninsk-Kuznetsky motorway. “We have already built half of the road and all we need to do now is to complete the remaining 11 km,” said Governor Aman Tuleyev, who was also present at the Prime Minister’s meeting with the miners. Mr Medvedev promised to assist with the issue.

The miners also inquired about the resettlement of people from run-down housing. One of them said that he did not qualify for the resettlement programme as he lives in a privately-owned house, but his house is sagging.    

"I think we could consider the possibility of providing new land plots to replace  land which is not suitable for living," Mr Medvedev said. He instructed Governor Aman Tuleyev to follow up on the miner’s question.

The miners also raised the issue of the medical examination, which in their opinion is too strict. Miners, for example, can be banned from working in the mine if they lack teeth. "These are cosmetic things. I have never heard of anything like that, I will look into it and see whether these requirements are excessive. It may be a legitimate requirement, but this does seem excessive," Mr Medvedev said.