Bouygues wins more Turkmenistan bulding contracts

18th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

ASHGABAT, Jan 18 (AFP) - Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov has awarded contracts worth USD 92 million (EUR 70 million) to French building group Bouygues in his bid to transform this former Soviet republic's capital to Western standards, state media said Tuesday.

ASHGABAT, Jan 18 (AFP) - Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov has awarded contracts worth USD 92 million (EUR 70 million) to French building group Bouygues in his bid to transform this former Soviet republic's capital to Western standards, state media said Tuesday.

The contracts are for a university complex (EUR 30.6 million), a media centre (EUR 13 million) and a marble processing plant (EUR 26.7 million), state television said.

The announcement confirms Bougyues' role as lead contractor in the glut of building that is changing the face of Ashgabat, a city of around 700,000 residents that in Soviet times was considered a sleepy, mainly Russian-speaking imperial outpost.

In recent years swathes of low-rise housing have been demolished, often at a few days' notice and leaving residents homeless, to make way for the grandiose structures that have multiplied in this natural gas-rich Central Asian country, Western diplomats say.

Bouygues has already completed a presidential palace, a conference centre, the justice, defence and oil and gas ministries, a parliament building, two banks, a defence college, a hotel, a school and two giant mosques.

The same firm is currently working on a trade centre, an arts academy, a fine arts museum, a drama theatre and a textiles ministry and has agreed to build a giant ice-rink, a cable car system and several other projects.

Critics have accused Niyazov of stifling the press and all forms of culture that do not reflect his own brand of Turkmen nationalism.

Gold statues of Niyazov and his deceased parents - central figures in his national iconography - stand in strategic spots across this desert country, including one of Niyazov that towers over Ashgabat rotating to always face the sun.

That state was built by the Turkmen government itself.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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