Friday, September 24, 2010

Take on Your Gas Mask

UB Post
Published September 24, 2010

Dear citizen, it is time to put on gas masks. It is highly recommended that all citizens in the capital city buy and wear gas masks for this winter, regardless of your age, sex, social standing, religion, property, position or other status. This year every metropolitan resident is about to inhale 183 kilograms of toxins, through the air. Central and urban authorities, who always lie, had better buy their gas masks from world-brand shops located on the side of the central square, in order to be different from others. But 700,000 metropolitan residents, who live in ger districts (epicenter of pollution), are recommended to use two gas masks for a simple reason that they burn not only coal but also vehicle tires to keep warm all night.

It has been many years since the authorities told fairy tales about fighting the air pollution and about the flourishing city, discussed big but empty things, as if the winter won’t come again. The only thing they can do is just to invent a story about a smokeless fuel and about a “magic” stove, and using their fairy tale they force the poor in ger districts, who cannot even afford coal, to buy their “magic” stove at high prices and make millions of tugrugs through tenders, the game played by their rule to suck taxpayers’ money. The situation has been worsening year by year and our capital city believed to be the coldest in the world, has become the most-polluted one in the world.
As a citizen of Ulaanbaatar City, I believe that our authorities are doing all these things purposefully because they all know well that the only way to eliminate the air pollution in the city is to turn ger districts into apartment buildings immediately.

They know even better that first they must register and certify all lands of ger district families as real estate. They are also aware that it is feasible to give all existing courtyards for private ownership to current occupiers provided that residents would build apartment blocks on their own courtyards, in turn authorities should use city bonds to finance the construction projects along with the required infrastructure system.
Simply, they just don’t want to do that. They say it is because of legislation. They are afraid because there will be no money or property left for them to embezzle after all lands in the city would have owners, if this challenge is accomplished. Two ministries and the city administration jointly established a state-owned company with a sonorous name sounding like “Dwelling Apartment Corporation”. Just wondering what this sonorous organization exactly does to provide ger district families with modern apartments? It is sure this company makes profits as it is a business entity making a business. I think they don’t need to tell double lies saying that the country has transmitted to a market economy, if the state itself runs a business. Residents of ger districts have been showing some initiatives with real proposals, like six steps to exchange their courtyards for apartments in order to improve their living conditions, with access to water and sewage systems.

Misusing the problems of ger district residents, a previous city mayor was elected to parliament thanks to his campaign promises to give three-room apartments in exchange for their courtyards. What would be their answer when electors ask him about how many courtyards are replaced by apartment buildings.

A bunch of problems such as air pollution and others will be dealt with, if we manage to organize, so that ger district residents make their own cooperatives or groups to build apartment blocks and own them. Unfortunately, the current city mayor will not pass a decision to make it possible because he was not elected by us, the Ulaanbaatar residents. He does not respond to city residents because he is appointed by the chairman of his political party.
Generally, he is obliged to render political support and make donations to his political party. He does not care about roads and lighting in the city. He cares only about the MNT500 charged at the Bayanzurkh checkpoint from vehicles entering the city territory, not about traffic jams even if it would reach to Khonkhor, a small village about 20 kilometers from the city center. Do not waste time to expect the city authorities report on where all these big cash incomes go. He also does not care about the quality of roads repaired or built, as well as about how many days it must be finished. The only thing he cares about is to look like did it.

Seems like they get satisfaction to see how the people are stressed by traffic jams, they create by intentionally stopping the traffic at peak times or seasons, to make repairs. Off-road races on subsidiary roads of the city can be organized, like in the Paris-Dakar race. As some 100,000 vehicles compete in this race, gas masks are required also in the summer time.

No one knows yet when all things will end and when we will pass the winter without the need of gas masks. The only thing we, ordinary citizens, know for sure is that our Redhero City will turn into a Smokyhero City and that we all will have to search for gas masks.

Translated by P.Shinee

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