Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meting with Balakhani residents
23 September 2020, 13:20
A new era begins for Balakhani village. I congratulate you on this occasion. You know that I have been paying particular attention to the Balakhani settlement. A few years ago, the cleaning and removal of that notorious Balakhani garbage dump signaled the start of the environmental work underway here. It had been causing significant discomfort to the residents of Balakhani and having an adverse impact on residents of Baku as a whole. The smoke from that dump was polluting the air and also causing great harm to human health. In a recent interview with TV channels, I expressed my thoughts related to this project so that I won’t repeat it. What used to be a garbage dump has now become a nice landfill and jobs have been created. There is an industrial park and a waste incineration plant here. At the same time, most of Lake Boyukshor nearby has already been cleared and a road has been built over the lake. Therefore, there are good travel opportunities now.
As for the current stage of the work, it is evident. All the work has been done with great love and taste. Infrastructure and sewage projects, the comfortable environment created for our people, the power lines, the repair of buildings, roofs, roads, the aesthetic appearance of streets – all this is done for people living here to feel comfortable, to create the appropriate environment for them. At the same time, jobs have been created. According to the information available to me, residents are involved in the work. They grow trees, flowers, shrubs and, at the same time, there are people from other places working here. In general, about a thousand people have been provided with jobs in this landscaping work.
This is the first stage of our work. Work is not over yet. Only a large part of it is. But there is still much to be done and we will do everything gradually. I want to say again that the main goal in Balakhani, an ancient settlement of our country, is for people to live comfortably, better, provide them with jobs, have an excellent ecological situation, clean air and clean water. Of course, one of the goals was to discover and restore historic sites. Some of the historical sites shown to me today were underground, including a sand bath, other sites – the sites built in the 14th century, in Soviet times. They are also our national treasure. These sites show that this settlement has an ancient history and ancient culture because only people with advanced civilization could have constructed such buildings. This includes the reservoir, the bathhouse – this means culture.
Of course, there are ideas about the future development of Balakhani. People from Baku and other cities are already coming here to relax, walk and take pictures. I was briefed that information about Balakhani is published in foreign media, and there is great interest in Europe and Russia. Of course, the influx of tourists will become more significant. This will create new opportunities for settlement’s residents. It would be great if residents of the settlement were active in tourism-related issues and use these opportunities to provide tourism services to visitors.
Residents of cities, small settlements and historical places in many developed countries join the tourism business, earn money, provide information about their history and culture and, at the same time, create excellent conditions for tourists. Therefore, it will depend on the people themselves. The government will also provide the necessary support. The catering facilities, cafes, teahouses, other facilities that can attract tourists should be created with good taste, so that life here is active, people live better and visitors from abroad can see this beauty.
I have said this before and you know very well that Balakhani has a great history. But this history was somewhat left on the sidelines. Because of the poor environmental situation, the dilapidated roads and other problems prevented even the citizens of Azerbaijan from having full information about Balakhani. Now Balakhani has made it to the world media, and this is only a beginning. This is why Mehriban khanim and I are here today. I said that I would come and visit to get acquainted with the work done. Most of the work has already been completed, and the upcoming work will give a greater impetus to the development of Balakhani. I congratulate you again.