Public Discussion on the State Inter-Agency Commission Investigation of the Land Collapse in Itkhvisi (Chiatura Municipality)
On November 1, the Social Justice Center and Chiatura of the Future organized an open discussion in Tbilisi to examine the conclusion prepared by the state inter-agency commission on the reasons for the land collapse that occurred in the village of Itkhvisi (Chiatura). Itkhvisi is a village in the mining area of Chiatura to have seen catastrophic subsidence in recent months, causing houses to collapse. On October 10, the inter-agency commission published an official conclusion on this issue, saying that the land collapse was the result of mining works dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. At the same time, the commission issued a recommendation to resettle 106 families living in Itkhvisi. The Social Justice Center and environmental and geology experts studied the conclusion and found that, among other shortfalls, the commission drew its conclusion without ever having examined the mining maps from the 1970s and 1980s. Instead, the experts found that the commission’s judgement was primarily based on the information provided by the mining company.
At the discussion in Tbilisi, the civil society organizations (CSOs) and experts shared their general assessments of the conclusion and spoke with locals about the compensation system. They also spoke at length about the importance of introducing a fair and transparent compensation system and resettlement plan.
The discussion was held as a follow-up to the bus tour to Chaitura organized by the USAID Civil Society Engagement Program in September 2022. At the bus tour, Tbilisi-based CSOs, civic activists, and journalists met residents in their villages to discuss their concerns. Among many problems, the locals spoke about the importance of establishing unified standards and a system of compensation for the damaged property. To address these and other problems, the CSOs provided legal consultations to the residents and offered their assistance in establishing communication with the relevant authorities. This assistance is ongoing.