Upmarket houses along road : Karimov to feel safer

Who will live in these blocks on Fergana Road?
The construction of upmarket blocks of flats on a section of the Fergana Road in Tashkent has been resumed in order to fully ensure the safety of the “presidential route” that goes by.

The Fergana Road paved from Tashkent’s centre to the densely populated neighbourhood of Kuylyuk was closed down three years ago in order to step up the security of President Islam Karimov.

But the construction of about six or eight brick blocks of flats is in full swing where three years ago the road was linked with a big bridge, which was later demolished to prevent the traffic from crossing the “presidential route”.

Obviously, this is being done in order to make the demolition of the section of one of the most overloaded highways in the Uzbek capital irreversible.

Protracted construction near “presidential route”

The Fergana Road’s section, about 0.5 km in length, was subjected to “reconstruction” in 2009.

Then this road section going by Tashkent’s winery was fenced off on both sides with metal bars, behind which fir-trees were planted while the traffic flow had to take a detour around the closed section, making their way by two-three kilometres, which significantly contributed to traffic jams.

It turned out that the closed street crossed the road on which Karimov’s motorcade usually drives from his residence in the village of Durmen to his Ok Saroy (White Palace) palace in the city and vice versa.

It was this street that was fenced off, blocking the Fergana Road without any hesitation.

In addition to these strange measures for the Uzbek leader’s security, half of the road bridge, which leads to the Kuylyuk residential district and further to the towns of Ahangaran, Angren, Almalyk and Fergana Valley, was demolished.

Sometime later, authorities decided to build a number of brick-made blocks of flats in the enclosed area, right in the middle of the former road, obviously, in order to make it impossible to restore this main road of the city.

The foundation of the houses was placed and even a couple of floors were built on each house but then the construction was suspended for a long time.

No-one to live by the road

One may assume that investors were not eager to invest in this “project”, realising that it would not be easy to sell such housing as it is clear to everyone that this important road needs be restored, which is likely to happen after 74-year-old President Karimov’s retirement.

The road and the bridge will be restored and the buildings built in the middle of the road will be pulled down.

Tashkent's Fergana Road closed off for the president's safety
However, the construction was resumed just recently. A company which is building these blocks is not publicised anywhere, but the facade of one of them is equipped with a huge banner advertising the blocks.

Judging by all, authorities remembered the “protracted construction” and decided to push on the construction companies’ owners to make them finish off the upmarket housing where a motor road once ran.

It is noteworthy that Karimov’s paranoia several years ago became so extreme that the so-called dedicated lane was created in the centre of Tashkent for the presidential motorcade that drives twice on that road.

Close down, block and bury

A number of downtown streets linked to the “presidential route” were once closed down, dismantled and planted with trees.

Specifically, these are a section of the street taking from the TsUM shopping centre to the Afrosiyob Street (former Kosmonavty Avenue), and a section of the Afrosiyob Street between the Kosmonavty underground station and a bridge across the Burjar canal where the president’s office Ok Saroy (White Palace) is located.

A section of Sharaf Rashidov Avenue by the Turkestan Palace, which linked Kadyriy and Navoiy Streets, was closed, pulled down and planted with trees.

A road linking Asaka Street with Istiklol Street (formerly Pushkin) near the Hamid Olimjon underground station (a part of the presidential road) was closed down and fenced off with concrete slabs.

In 2001, Matbuotchilar Street (formerly Leningrad) was closed on a road section between the Demir supermarket and Amir Temur Square because this road takes to the Palace of Forums, where President Karimov shows up now and then.

On Ulugbek Street (formerly Abdullayev), from the former Gorky underground station towards TTZ residential district, the road is fenced off with concrete slabs for several kilometres and exits from about 50 streets onto this road are blocked.

In addition, all of the street cafes along the “presidential route” were removed.

And closer to the Durmen residence, a road section along an area of one-storey houses, through which the presidential motorcade sweeps through, was enclosed with solid metal fence a couple of years ago so that no-one could spring out and make an attempt on the life of Islam Karimov, who has ruled Uzbekistan for 23 years.