Russia may undertake the large-scale resettlement of residents of single-industry towns in a bid to tackle high unemployment in the country's depressed regions, a business daily said on Thursday.
Vedomosti reported that the project is likely to start in the Volga town of Togliatti with the workforce of the Russian ailing auto giant AvtoVAZ, which has recently announced massive job cuts in an effort to slash costs. AvtoVAZ is the major job provider in the area.
The scheme will initially see the resettlement of 450-500 families from Togliatti to the Leningrad Region town of Tikhvin, where a new railway car-producing factory is to open by the end of the year, the paper said.
If the resettlement of AvtoVAZ workforce proves to be a success, it will be applied to other single-factory towns in Russia, the paper said.
However, experts are skeptical about the plan. They argue that few in Togliatti would venture to sell their comfortable apartments and move to the Leningrad Region, which has also seen a steep rise in unemployment rates, the paper said.
The program of resettlement from Soviet-era single-industry towns, hit hard by the global economic crisis as demand for their products has fallen, has been developed by the Agency for Mortgage and Housing Loan Restructuring, the paper said.
In accordance with the plan, workers will be able to move to a new town with the help of the agency, which will evaluate their apartments and issue concessional two-year loans matching their value to buy new housing in their new places of residence. Old apartments will be used as pledges for the loans, the paper reported.
Migrants will be able to sell their old apartments themselves or through the agency and also obtain mortgage loans to make up for insufficient funds, the paper said.
MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti)