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Uzbek Women Offered Cheap Coal After Blocking Highway Ahead Of President's Visit

The women blocked the road in Jizzax.
The women blocked the road in Jizzax.

PAXTAKOR, Uzbekistan -- Women in Uzbekistan's eastern region of Jizzax have been offered cheap coal after they blocked a highway to protest against a lack of natural gas and electricity amid an unusually cold winter.

Local authorities in the Paxtakor district on January 11 met with the women and urged them to unblock the highway ahead of a visit by President Shavkat Mirziyoev to the region.

The women ended the blockade of the highway after the local government secured the immediate delivery of one ton of cheap coal to the district.

One of Mirziyoev's promises when he was elected as the Central Asian nation's president in 2016 was to carry out programs to solve electricity and natural-gas shortages.

Last month, Mirziyoev ordered his government to cut natural-gas exports to ensure the domestic availability of gas. He also publicly criticized the cabinet for what he called its "failure to properly prepare for the winter season," adding that there was a domestic shortfall of 20 million cubic meters of gas a day.

He ordered the government to transfer into the control of investors some 25 natural-gas fields in the country to boost supplies, as well as the purchase of an additional 217,000 tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

This year has been unusually cold in Uzbekistan with power outages and heating shortages have been reported across the country.

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