City Hall's ambitious "Big Moscow" expansion-and-redevelopment plan has come under fire from the Public Chamber.
It says the project ignores Muscovites' interests and fails to consider all the environmental consequences.
In December 2011 Moscow more than doubled in size, as the upper house of the Russian parliament endorsed a resolution on moving the capital’s boundaries further to the south.
As a result, the Russian capital grew by over 148,000 hectares, while its population will increase by 150,000 people.
The official annexation will take place on July 1, 2012. However, while the best minds of Russia and Europe are busy planning the area’s future, the Public Chamber’s members are voicing ideas to stop the project until it is tested by ecologists and until all local residents are asked for their opinion.
“Society is concerned about the Big Moscow project and the Public Chamber feels this,” Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Public Chamber member, told RT. “People complain about a lack of information. The project managers have to be sensitive to this. Of course, this is only the start – the plan hasn't been finalized yet. People should be kept informed, they should be able to express their opinions and be sure these will be taken into account.”
Moscow officials responded that it is too late to stop the project, since all the necessary documents were signed and the project is up and running.
“It was a Presidential initiative,” said head of the Moscow Duma legislation committee Aleksandr Semennikov. “Now it is a law that has come into effect. I don’t understand why there must be any public hearings if the senators have already done their work.”
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