Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mongolia Brief September 9, 2014 Part IV



Mongolia has now potential to diagnose and treat hearing impaired children
September 9 (UB Post) A project to improve the development of disabled children launched on September 4 at School No.29 for children with special needs in Sukhbaatar District.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working to improve the development of disabled children and enhance their lives with the help of the Mongolian Association of Sign Language Interpreters NGO, the Mongolian Association of Youth with Hearing Disabilities and Children NGO, through the project.
Special advisor at USAID Judith Heumann informed about the non-refundable grants worth 294,114 USD during the launch.
Madam Heumann said, “I am glad to initiate the non-refundable grant of the International Disability Rights of the U.S. Department.”
Director of School No.29 B.Batsaikhan said, “Our school was established in 1964. Currently 320 hearing impaired children study and received the 12 year compulsory education with other children at our school. The survey shows that every two to three children in 1,000 have hearing disabilities. But almost 90 percent of their parents have unimpaired hearing. Parents do not know how to deal with children with disability and parents need assistance in these cases. It is essential to diagnose and treat children with hearing disabilities,” during the granting ceremony.
“Moreover parents have to be able to give communication and cognitive knowledge to their children. I want to express my appreciation to USAID, which is initiating, supporting and implementing this project,” he added.
The biggest concern of this project is to diagnose children with hearing disabilities and teach them to communicate with others, said Judith Heumann and highlighted that specialists from two different organizations are working on this project.
“We can provide wellbeing in their lives. We estimate that over 1,000 people including disabled children, their families and teachers will benefit from the project,” she added.
Nine delegates, including the director of School No.29, representatives of USAID, teachers, parents and children participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The ceremony also included a children’s performance. B.Altansuvd, a student at School No.29, performed a contortion act. She trains at ASA Circus and has worked in Israel for over four months as a contortionist.
Three other students of the school sung “Kindness of People” (Khunii Saikhan Setgel) in sign language and performed a Mongolian traditional dance.
A representative of the parents and guardians of students of School No.29, D.Dulguun noted, “Even though my son does not have hearing disabilities, he has difficulty in speaking. He attended Kindergarten No.189 for children with special needs for two years and attended a speech therapy. His teacher said that my son has potential to be able to speak in the future. My family was told that he can study at a normal school after five years of study at this school.”
The USAID project will be implemented for two years, from 2014 to 2016, and will cover School No.29, Kindergarten No.189 and children and youth of four provinces.
Source: Unuudur

E.Bat-Uul: I will not back down due to fear of criticism
September 9 (UB Post) The following is an interview with the Mayor and Governor of the capital city, E.Bat-Uul, about timely issues.
Bat-Uul is a politician from the Democratic Party, who was appointed as the Mayor and Governor of the Ulaanbaatar in August 2012.
How was the summer work and how are preparation works for winter?
This summer was very busy with road works, housing constructions and elevators as well as roof repairs. The results can be seen clearly. Despite economic difficulties, we can highlight that the city development didn’t suffer as much.
How progressive is the housing work for ger area?
Apartment town is being constructed in Zuun Ail. This is the beginning of ger area housing work. When we first presented this idea, people were saying it was impossible but now everyone is asking to enlist their property for reconstruction. Maybe in two years, people will consider commercializing their land, finding investors, and building public apartments or houses.
People are saying that you didn’t keep your promises and that you’re exchanging people’s land with few cubic meter apartments?
It’s true that I claimed to transform ger area into residential areas when I participated in the election. I still uphold this position. To start this work, I built a state industry site. Now, I’m receiving land owners’ submissions to construct houses on their lands. Some 20,000 households offered to build houses as of last July and there are more people willing to do the same. Land owners decide everything. I can’t decide on behalf of them. My responsibility is to find investors for commercializing their land. I’ll only work through public demand.
When will construction of residential areas begin?
There are fundraising issues. After this has concluded, we’ll negotiate with land owners to compress their fences so that kindergartens and schools can be established. Some people don’t agree and slow down work. For example, households near Gandan monastery are refusing to give up their land. We renovated only one street to show how the streets would change.
A total of 78 percent of total Ulaanbaatar housing is ger area. Immense amount of investment is required for building infrastructure. Infrastructure work will begin when funding issues are settled.
The residents don’t have to depend on us to search for investors and build apartments themselves. They can gather land owners and propose to establish houses or apartments together.
Currently, how many areas have started constructing apartments through the ger area re-planning?
According to the data I received, apartments for 6,000 people will be operational in several areas including Songinokhairkhan District and Zuun Ail within this year. You can get specifics from the Head of City Council Battulga and Deputy Head Ochirbat who are responsible for city ger area re-planning.
The public was frustrated with the Metro Map Project trial, which allowed people to change buses with 500 MNT daily tickets. There’s also the vehicle license plate restriction, which reduced traffic but violated people’s driving rights. Can you comment on these issues?
We used license plate restrictions since last year. It’s proven to be an effective method. A week before September 1, the start of new academic year, Ulaanbaatar traffic congestions usually reaches its peak. Parents and students buy stationeries for their children and overcrowd the city.  We had to take this precaution method.
One factor that was hindering the license plate restriction was public transportation service. Drivers who can’t drive on specific days have to use buses but public transportation service couldn’t meet the needs and so we introduced the Metro Map Project along with vehicle restrictions.
How do you assess its outcome?
I’m satisfied. Public transportation staff have bad reputations of seeking profit instead of providing services to people. There was an initiation to eliminate this concept and to run buses according to specific standards and schedules as public transportation is designed for providing comfortable and fast services. Even with one passenger, buses should drive on determined routes on schedule. Buses shouldn’t wait until the bus is packed with passengers, which is the current concept of Mongolian public transportation. We did a trial to reform into a system focused on providing services instead of working for profit. Obviously, all new experiments and trials face difficulties and criticism. From the recent trial, we collected useful data on developing the project and realized that this service could be introduced in the future.
That is only if buses become comfortable, routes are more specific and clear, and distribution of 500 MNT tickets is improved.
Exactly. We’re planning to commission a new public transportation service from April 1, 2015 after wrapping up preparation work. Passengers will scan their cards in buses to pay. There’ll be a monthly, six months’ and family ticket packages. Bus routes will become clearer and buses will become more comfortable. Mongolia will purchase additional buses with 20 billion MNT. We plan to import long, extended buses. Ulaanbaatar needs 2,500 buses to meet residents’ demand in the city according to the officials in public transportation. At the moment, there are 800 buses in the city.
Will 20 billion MNT be enough to purchase buses that’ll meet basic needs?
Of course not. This is the spending money for one-time purchase. We’ll be purchasing buses every year. Estimations show that the necessary number of buses will be fully provided in five years.
Will vehicle restrictions be enforced in the future?
No. We’ll face a loss if this method is implemented for a long time. It’ll be difficult for the people too. Some residents proposed to establish tollways at the city center and collect fees for passage. The collected fees will be used for the people.
When will tollways be imposed?
We’ll conduct a survey. If new public transportation service is introduced from April 1, 2015 and people travel for a whole day with 500 MNT, the public transportation sector will face a deficit of 17 billion MNT.
To compensate the loss, are you trying to make cars pay a fee of 50,000 MNT for passage in the city center?
There’s no other option for compensating the loss. It’s impossible for the city budget to be compensated. The 50,000 MNT fee is the cost of uncongested service and passage. This is the global standard that London, Paris and Singapore have. Every city manages traffic congestions this way. People will have no reason to buy cars if they’re provided with convenient and fast public transportation services.
Last fall, Ulaanbaatar received a loan from the Asian Development Bank. What’s happening with that loan?
Mongolia received a high criteria loan from the Asian Development Bank. The government and international bodies are contributing considerably for Ulaanbaatar’s construction and development. The Asian Development Bank invested 320 million USD to establish two sub-centers in Ulaanbaatar. Bayankhoshuu and Chingeltei Districts will become cities within a city. With the support from the Asian Development Bank, we’re building a hospital.
The World Bank has almost finished implementing a project to improve clean water supply. We’re also establishing schools and kindergartens. The government is implementing and funding a street project. Together with the Chinese government, Mongolia built a new bridge and now it’s working towards metro works. Works for constructing a metro will begin from 2016.
Another hot topic of this summer was the online land registration. Many have expressed suspicions about the fairness of the selection process. Can you comment on this?
The public has become very distrustful and full of suspicion. There are so many poor people who are filled with bad thoughts and distrust. Many people were running around overjoyed for receiving land. Even infants were chosen for land ownerships. I doubt a that little baby could have used underhanded methods.
Truthfully, The Land Ownership Law was revised and the distribution of 0.07 hectares of land was discussed for many years but was unsuccessful. Some 1,000,100 people couldn’t get their portion of land. We used this method so that those people could get their share. It’s difficult to distribute land to everyone. In the past, we hadn’t found technical solutions for completing this work. Mongolian land officials worked without eating or sleeping and developed a program that would distribute land to over 15,000 people within seconds.
Sorry, but this work was conducted fairly. Would anyone go around negotiating to give land ownerships to 15,000 people?  Also the selection wasn’t determined by a person but a computer. Would a computer try to give land via underhanded methods? Therefore, this talk about unfair selection process for land ownership is false.
From the people registered for land ownership, how many received lands?
Out of the 280,000 applicants, 15,000 people gained land ownerships in the first stage. Oddly, 4,000 of them didn’t want land certificates. I can’t stop wondering about this. Do you know how incredible those five land locations are? For example, Khojuul Valley in Uliastai is getting paved roads with state budget funds. It’ll get sanitary and hot water networks as well as a Canadian-styled housed micro-district.
The officials met and discussed why people didn’t want land certificates. One person explained that people who just wanted to try out the lottery registered in the website. If this is true, we should eliminate these mischievous people and do another lottery for the land they didn’t claim.
Will everyone who didn’t get land receive their share via online lotteries eventually?
Certainly. The some 1,000,100 people who didn’t receive 0.07 hectares of land will all get lands. People who were left from the previous lottery will be transferred for the next lottery. The lottery for the first five locations was an experiment. We’ll be doing lotteries for the remaining locations shortly.
Source: Daily news

‘History of Europe’ narrated at Red Ger Gallery
By D. Sergelen
September 9 (UB Post) Today we will travel through another brand new exhibition at Red Ger Art Gallery. “History of Europe” by Czech artist and graphic designer Renata Puchikova will be on view to gratify art lovers through September 27.
The exhibition features 20 select drawings from the book “History of Europe” and was organized as part of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the European Union and Mongolia.
The introduction and exhibition catalogue provide a deeper impression of the work while visiting the art gallery. It provides the visitor with complex and detailed information about the exhibition.
More information about the artist:
Renata Puchikova was born in 1964, in Prague, and graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, in drawing and graphic design. She has created paintings of the stories of the Brothers Grimm, fairy tales of Oscar Wilde, Chinese folk talkes,
Arabian and ancient Celtic fairy tales, and she stories from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Thomas Garrigue Masaryk and Jan Amos Komensky.
In the words of the artist, “I am only 19 years old and I don’t know much about European History because I was not born at its peak historical period.”
Visitors to the exhibition can see the whole of Europe’s historical events, from the Stone Age to modern life. It captures the first people of Europe, life in a big castle, the time of Greek philosophers, the Coliseum in Rome, Arabian development, and modern lifestyles in Europe.
Art lovers can visit her blog and website (renatafucikova.cz) to see more.
Link to article

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