Politics 19:27 04/07/2017 Armenia

Parliament passes the bill in the first reading allowing water removal from Lake Sevan

Armenia’s National Assembly (NA) adopted in the first reading on Tuesday a controversial government bill, allowing the water removal from Lake Sevan amid continuing protests staged outside the parliament building by environmental NGOs.

NA Deputies voted by 77 to 3 to pass the government-drafted amendments to the Law on “Approving the Annual and Complex Programmes of the Restoration, Preservation, Reproduction and Use Events of Lake Sevan Ecosystems,” that among other things proposes to increase water drainage from Lake Sevan by 100 million square meters to make in total 270 million square meters for irrigation purposes.

The debate in the parliament was accompanied by a protest in front of the National Assembly where number of environmentalist protested over what they claimed to be a deadly hazard for the lake, suggesting the policy enacted by the amendments would cause irreversible damage to the lake ecosystem.

The opposition Yelq Alliance voted against the bill, pointing out number of provisions they believed were in contrary to the country’s Constitution. One of opposition lawmakers even called on colleagues to join the initiative to question the constitutionality of the law in the country’s Constitutional Court.

The legislators representing the governing Republican Party, that constitute majority in the Parliament, backed the legislative amendments, pointing to the urgent need to provide irrigation water to 130 thousand villagers to be able to cultivate some 40 thousand hectares of land.

The draft law will be debated in the second and final reading in the coming days.

Source Panorama.am
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