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The Hydropower Solution in Central Asia: yes but"

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Unlike Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Tajikistan has no known significant oil & gas reserves and as a result energy shortages cripple Tajikistan and regularly bring its manufacturing industry to a halt, not to mention the regular electricity shortages endured by the population, even in the capital city of Dushanbe. The situation is further exacerbated by tensions with neighboring Uzbekistan that cuts the energy supply to retaliate against any efforts by upstream countries to control water flows that might impact Uzbek downstream agricultural activities. The withdrawal in 2009 of Uzbekistan from the Central Asian electricity grid is a further blow as it will also prevent Tajikistan from exporting electricity generated by its hydropower plants. The country is also crippled by legacies of the past, notably the Talco Aluminum Plant (formerly "TadAZ"), which by itself consumes 40% of Tajikistan's electricity production and is said to pay its electricity at heavily discounted prices.

Tired of waiting on foreigners to act and on foreign governments and multilateral institutions that advocate smaller scale hydropower projects, President Emomali Rahmon launched a voluntary-compulsory share purchase program where he asked "every son of the nation, every patriot and our countrymen abroad to support Tajikistan through financial and moral help by acquiring share in the Rogun Hydropower Project. Five million shares and certificates have been issued for a total sum of six billion somonis (about $1.3 billion), which is the Tajik estimated cost to finish the project. Each family was asked (many will argue forced) to buy at least 3,000 somonis (about $690). This is very tolling for a population where the majority lives with less than $2/day, though the poorest families were exempted.

The idea of popular participation is interesting but questionable when not participating in this national effort is considered unpatriotic, and the zeal of some led to some doubtful collecting practices. By the end of January about 701 million somonis ($162 million) had been collected, and by March 10 that number painstakingly reached 770 million somonis ($176 million).

Unrealistic Expectations & Unmet Promised

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