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Reconversion: From Coal to Yachts
industrial minipark, which offers access to utilities, office and production spaces for rent at small prices, as well as management services. SLIGHT PROGRESSES. The absorption of the World Bank Funds is still very slow in the Jiu Valley, because, for example, in the case of the mini-loans for companies, the money have been redirected towards the Alba County and other localities in the Hunedoara county. With the previous pilot-project, the total value of the mini-loans reaches 800,000 US Dollars, loans with smaller administrative costs. Even though more substantial, the success of the financing of the new employeesâ salaries is still small: since the beginning of last year, 1,278 new jobs have been created, which will result in 1.53 million US dollars going back to the companies. The condition is that the companies have to keep the job of the former colliers for at least one year. Of the 60 million US dollars from the World Bank, only 9 millions have been spent. THE ABYSS. From 1990 untill present, more than 38,000 colliers have been dismissed in the Jiu Valley. Even though he admits the GDNADMR programs are not used as much as it should, Marcel Hoara is optimistic. "The numerous preceding phases have taken a lot of time, it took until last year". On the other hand, the local advisers have noticed the small entrepreneurial interest in the region. "Most men leave to look for work somewhere else, especially abroad. They graduate from the bricklayer and cook courses at Lonea and leave the region. Most of the ones that came into the Valley from other regions went back with the compensatory salaries and built houses for themselves. Some have also bought apartments in Bucharest and rented them", an adviser at the Lonea Center says. SURVIVAL. "For at least 5 or 6 years, the survival of the Jiu Valley will be strongly related to mining", Varujan Vosganian (photo), the Minister of Economy, who didnât seem so pleased with the things he had seen in the Lupeni mine, stated. The survival will cost us 1.2 billion lei until 2010 only. After that, there wonât be any other subsidies. The National Pit Coal Company (NPCC) has debts which are twice as great as the 700 billion RON turnover, and its chances are strongly related to a possible fusion with the thermal stations in Paroseni or Mintia Deva, which are owned now by Termoelectrica. No money has been invested in the NPCC between 1990 and 2003, when a million US dollars have been spent for the loan. Recently, 8 million euros have been spent on a complex abatis and 30 more will be spent for the same thing. The coal extraction conditions are still precarious. The miners still work with gads, and the coal is continuously threatening them from the protection nets above. The inefficiency of the transporters through the galleries is compensated by the shovels. Compared to 1990, the population in the Jiu Valley is twice as small, reaching approximately 15,000 people. The colliersâ life expectancy reaches 55 years, but there isnât any professional study of the health status in the region, according to the data from the Ministry of Economy.
Translated by SORIN BALAN
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