Gordian Knot for Abakan

Gordian Knot for Abakan

Photo: http://abakan-news.net/

Abakan, the capital of Khakassia is experiencing individual construction boom. The private sector is rapidly growing as a result of the “dacha amnesty” [a simplified procedure of citizens' rights to certain objects of immovable property] and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the authorities do not put a positive spin on this tendency.

According to the press service of Abakan City Hall, a total of 151,000 square meters of housing was built in the city last year. Multistory buildings only account for 41% of new housing. The construction of single family homes had increased by 2.5 times by 2020.

“The “dacha amnesty” offers a fast track procedure to commission single family homes and build houses on land plots designed for gardening,” the Town Hall said.

According to real estate experts, the pandemic has also significantly heightened interest in residential housing. Many people, after being isolated in cramped little apartments, realized how much more comfortable it would be to stay in a private house, which costs the same but is incommensurably larger in area. Is it better to invest 2.5 million rubles ($33,422.5) in a 32 sq. m. house or buy a spacious country house for the same money? The choice for many is obvious. In 2021, an almost equal amount of individual houses were registered in Abakan on urban land plots (256) and land plots for gardening and horticulture (254). In general, the housing stock of Abakan increased by 1,593 apartments and 510 low-rise houses in 2021, built by the residents at their own expense, using “maternity capital” and attracted mortgage loans. This is 1,022 fewer apartments and 350 more houses than in 2020. According to the latest data, the private sector in Abakan has exceeded 16,000 plots of land.

On the one hand, citizens are solving the housing problem. On the other hand, a process of de-urbanization can hardly be considered normal for a big city. Private housing construction has its peculiarities and problems that influence the rest of the city. The environmental issue plays a key role there. It is related to stove heating, which is a real Gordian knot for Abakan. The city is located in a basin. Residents heat houses primarily with coal since it is cheaper than firewood. Abakan can hardly be seen from the air on windless winter days. The capital of neighboring Tuva, Kyzyl, is faced with a similar problem but even worse since most of the private sector was built in the 1990s without permission.

The share of the private sector is significant also in Krasnoyarsk. However, there is practically no private housing construction in this city of one million inhabitants. The gradual elimination of Nikolaevka continues. The entire residential sector is being experimentally transferred to electric heating. As wek.ru wrote earlier, Pokrovka was chosen as a pilot area, for which a special preferential rate for electricity is introduced. With this tariff, regular and electric boilers will be less expensive for the family budget. The losses of the distribution company will be compensated by the federal budget.

Abakan does not have the opportunity to choose this way yet. According to Rosseti, both the grid operators and branch-circuit distribution centers serving the city are overloaded down to the limit. They require complete reconstruction in some places, and there are no funds for it. According to preliminary estimates, about 10 billion rubles ($133.69 mln) are required for grid facilities of Abakan-Chernogorsk agglomeration.

“First, we need to talk about the reconstruction of the entire power supply system. The current state of the regional power complex in Khakassia does not allow us to operate even at minimum reliability in the conditions of increased load. Especially if we are talking about transferring consumers to electric heating. Even partially,” Head of Rosseti Siberia Pavel Akilin said last fall.

“Of course, we are concerned about this tendency. There is also an increase in the volumes of private housing construction in the areas adjacent to Abakan. There are simply no mechanisms to restrain this construction. The “dacha amnesty” allowed people to build houses on garden plots, and this is one more reason for individual construction. All this puts pressure on the social infrastructure, and most importantly, on ecology. We understand all this very well but I do not see any way out of this situation in the near future. Only electric heating, but it requires a large-scale upgrading of networks and preferential rates for the population,” Abakan Mayor Alexei Lemin told wek.ru.

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