Kyrgyzstan trips over utility price hikes

By Daniel Collins 09/04/2010

The sudden fall of the Kyrgyz government may have had its roots in meteoric rises in utility rates, including water:

“One expert said the government had triggered the protests by imposing punitive increases on tariffs for water and gas. “In the last few months there has been growing anger over this non-political issue,” said Paul Quinn-Judge, central Asia project director of the International Crisis Group.”

Peter Hodge remarks:

“Tyranny rule no. 1: take away people’s constitutional rights but don’t mess with their basic necessities.”

This reminded me of the 2000 Cohcabamba riots, which followed privatisation of the municipal water supply.

Water supply rule no. 1: price water to reflect water’s value to society, and to reflect a price’s value to society.

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