Saturday, 25 June 2011

Russia's roads to nowhere

Prosecutors and officials are shuffling their papers in preparation for a bumpy ride after discovering 361,000 km of “missing” Russian roads.
The gap between paper trails and tarmac tracks came to light during an audit where two state agencies gave very different accounts.
An audit by Rosimushchestvo, the federal property agency, found that there are 411,600 km of road in the country.
This is eight times more than Rosavtodor’s hitherto credited figure, the agency administers roads for the ministry of transport.

The fact that 361,000 km of asphalt are apparently unknown to the authorities could put road users at risk – drivers find themselves using routes maintained by unidentified contractors and not subject to state controls.
Quite who is at the bottom of the discrepancy is unclear but the prosecutors are very keen to point out that the law has nonetheless been broken.
“The difference in data between Rosavtodor and Rosimushchestva’s length of federal highways violates the law, it amounts to 361,000 km, which cover 1.8 billion square meters,” the prosecutor’s office said on its website.

All public roads “of federal importance” are federal property, the prosecutor says. The government has assigned the maintenance and unified state register of them to Rosavtodor. But Rosimushchestvo is the body responsible for keeping track of all federal property, RBK reported.
The ministry of transport has duly written to the ministries of transport and of economic development for information on appropriate measures to protect the interests of federal property.
The two agencies, meanwhile, have been asked to agree on a figure and develop a system for accounting and registering roads and the land they are on.
And heads could start to roll as the prosecutor has asked the ministries just who is responsible for the current confusion.

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