24 december 2009

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meеts with Minister of Natural Resources Yury Trutnev and Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin

Mr Putin, Mr Trutnev and Mr Yakunin discussed the construction of railway bypass near the village of Bereznyaki in the Perm Region.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: A big project has been completed in the village of Bereznyaki, in the Perm Region: construction has been finished of a railway bypass. Now my question is whether everything has been done to ensure safety in the region.

Yury Trutnev: Mr Putin, a flooded mine at the Verkhnekamsky potash-magnesium salt deposit threatened to stop railway service, which would bring to a halt the operation of a whole cluster of major chemical and metallurgical industrial plants.

In line with your instructions, the government committee has done a lot. The construction of 850-metre and, later, six-kilometre detours made it possible for railway service not to be interrupted for a single day. The steady operation of plants was thereby guaranteed.

However, the problem could only have been solved in the long term by the construction of a major, 53-kilometre bypass, which would eliminate all risk to railway transit near the deposit.

This bypass has been built. I would like to thank Vladimir Yakunin and all the railway workers who finished the railway bypass ten months ahead of schedule and in adverse climatic conditions. Now we can say that all risk to this industrial cluster has been eliminated.

Vladimir Putin: Who was involved in the bypass project?

Vladimir Yakunin: Mr Putin, [Transport] Minister Trutnev supervised construction from the very start. He visited the construction site more than once. From our company, my first deputy Vadim Morozov, my deputy Oleg Tony and several other Russian Railways employees were involved.

The government also evaluated the project. We didn't just begin straight from the drawing board. And, first of all, as a result we completed the construction 10 months ahead of time. Second, I would like to emphasize that the working conditions were very difficult, because in addition to five bridges, we had to build drainage systems almost every kilometre. We simply had to install drainage systems, because the area was very waterlogged and swampy.

This section is electrified, and so it took us literally days to finish the work. In spring we will conduct our standard inspection.

The railway is operating and people are happy about this. They are very happy about the resumption of passenger travel.

Vladimir Putin: What are the final costs and what is the distribution of the financial burden?

Vladimir Yakunin: The total, as approved by the State Appraisal Committee, is 12 billion 330 million roubles, or 199 million per kilometre. This does not differ from the standard cost of an electrified kilometre. Out of this sum, we received six billion roubles in grants from the federal government. If I'm correct, 0.8 billion roubles were dividends, which the government did not claim from us. The potassium producing companies and Russian Railways split the rest.

Today, Russian Railways owes three billion roubles in outstanding costs and we are discussing this issue under Trutnev's supervision. This is a typical example of public-private partnership with the companies that use this section in order to pay the remaining costs on an equal basis with Russian Railways. But this does not affect the bypass's operation or the completion of work.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Trutnev, initially we agreed on a set contribution from private companies using this railway, but later on decided that they will have to pay more. By how much will their share eventually be increased?

Yury Trutnev: Mr Putin, today these private companies fully paid for the relocation of 1,127 people and for the construction of temporary rails. They also contributed six billion roubles to the construction of the 53-kilometre section. In addition, at the recent talks they agreed to pay another billion to cover the remaining deficit.

Vladimir Putin: So, their total contribution will be seven to eight billion?

Vladimir Yakunin: Even a little more.

Vladimir Putin: About nine billion?

Yury Trutnev: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: All right. Mr Yakunin, during the televised question-and-answer session with the public, there was a question about the fate of a woman who helped the victims of the Neva Express train accident on site, including giving them her property. I asked you to do everything to create decent living conditions for her.

Vladimir Yakunin: Mr Putin, you once warned me that as the company's president I must follow up on such instructions, and I'm ready to answer your question.

I'm pleased that I can report on this issue, although I did not expect you to ask about it. Nevertheless, this is an official report on what has been done (hands report to Putin) and these are the photos of the house, which is under construction.

Vladimir Putin: This house is in the village, is it?

Vladimir Yakunin: This is in the village where her relatives live.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you.