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    PRESIDENT PUTIN: WE MUST BE EFFICIENT IN SPENDING TAXPAYERS' MONEY ALLOCATED FOR RESTORATION OF CHECHNYA

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    MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) - President Putin called for an efficient use of taxpayers' money allocated for restoration of Chechnya.

    "If our taxpayers allocate funds for restoration of Chechnya's economy, they do it primarily to help reestablish law and order in the republic, to ensure that Chechnya should no longer be perceived as a source of disorder and insecurity," the head of state said on Saturday during his meeting with Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, Economic Development and Trade Minister Gherman Gref, and presidential envoy in the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak.

    "We must take special efforts to ensure that the funds are utilized in a most efficient manner so that the goals for achievement of which we have allocated such vast resources should be attained without fail," Vladimir Putin emphasized.

    On his part, the Economic Development and Trade Minister Gherman Gref pointed out that a portion of the funds allocated for restoration of Chechnya (4.95 billion rubles or $170 million) would not be utilized this year.

    According to him, the restoration program provides for reconstruction of 343 buildings and facilities.

    Among other things, Mr. Gref said, "we will not be able to utilize the funds allocated for restoration of the airport `Severny`.

    In addition, he pointed out, we will not be able to reconstruct two maternity clinics and some sports facilities.

    According to the Minister, there are "a number of reasons" preventing implementation of these projects. He cited owners' sluggishness and lack of proper coordination with the local authorities as the main stumbling blocks.

    With reference to restoration of the airport Severny, Gherman Gref pointed out that two tenders had been conducted to award the project to a proper contractor, but none of the organizations specializing in restoration of airports agreed to bid in the tenders. Mr. Gref said that the federal budget had allocated 133 million rublesfor restoration of the airport, with additional 270 million rubles to be supplied from other sources.

    On hearing that Vladimir Putin said: "It is bad that you are lagging behind the schedule, but it is good that you openly acknowledge it."

    The President pointed to the vital need of overcoming the current problems and meeting the targets that had been set by the authorities.

    "We must take very consistent and resolute steps in this direction. A lot depends on the federal center now," Vladimir Putin stressed.

    "The most vital challenge for us to meet at the moment is to fulfill our obligations to pay compensation to all Chechen citizens who had lost their homes," the President said.

    "We promised to do it and all excuses citing verification and calculation difficulties are unacceptable," Vladimir Putin emphasized.

    At the same time, Russian President believes that "the above steps are absolutely insufficient for re-creating normal living conditions in the republic."

    "We must create new jobs and a truly effective social infrastructure there," the head of state pointed out.

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