ALMATY, Feb. 10 (The Conway Bulletin) — Asset Issekeshev, the mayor of Astana, said that dozens of manhole covers have been stolen to be melted-down and sold for scrap, causing major disruptions to the Kazakh capital’s infrastructure at it battles through another freezing winter.
Kazakh media quoted Mr Issekeshev as saying that two areas of Astana had been cut off from the electricity grid and from heating after copper wire was stolen.
“Right now we are faced with the situation where between 10 and 15 cast iron covers are being stolen every day,” Kazakh media quoted him as saying to a group of entrepreneurs.
“Children are falling in them every day.”
He said the scrap metals hunters were selling the lumps of metal on Kazakhstan’s Black Market.
Astana is trying to put on its best face for EXPO-2017 which starts in June. Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev has been building up to the exposition for years as an opportunity to showcase the capital he built on the steppe.
>>This story was first published in issue 317 of The Conway Bulletin on Feb. 17 2017, a weekly independent newspaper for Central Asia and the South Caucasus.