2 Apr 2019 20:19

Court bans continuation of bottling factory construction on Baikal's bank by Chinese co

IRKUTSK. April 2 (Interfax) - The Arbitration Court of Irkutsk region prohibited LLC AquaSib, a company with Chinese capital, to continue the construction of a water bottling factory in Kultuk, Irkutsk region, materials of the court state.

"To prohibit the limited liability company AquaSib and other persons to erect (build) facilities on the section of land with a combined area of 16,974 square meters under cadastral number 38:25:000000:934 located at Kirova Street, Kultuk, Slyudyanka district, Irkutsk region, to conclude deals or take any other actions to manage, encumber or transfer the said section of land to other persons," the court judgment says.

The decision was made as part of injunctive remedies in relation to a lawsuit of the Baikal interregional environmental protection prosecutor's office against Kultuk village administration and AquaSib.

The prosecutor's office called for invalidating an agreement of leasing the section of land on the bank of Lake Baikal signed between the village administration and the company. The Irkutsk region department of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) was invited to the case as the third party.

Judge Yulia Yatskevich deemed that in the absence of the ban AquaSib could continue the construction of the factory and thus change the initial state of the disputed section of land. "Besides, the section of land under the disputed agreement may be offered to third parties and as a consequence can lead to a dispute between the said persons and also complicate the execution of the judgment as far as the application of the effects of the invalidity of the deal are concerned," the court documents state.

Having analyzed the circumstances of the case the judge concluded that injunctive measures in the form of a ban on the continuation of construction on the section of land and transfer it to other persons are justified and necessary to guarantee public interests.

The court will continue handling the case on May 7.

Earlier reports said that on March 27 Kirovsky district court of Irkutsk at the motion of the environmental protection prosecutor's office invalidated the positive opinion of the state ecological expert study concerning the construction of the AquaSib factory. The prosecutor's office stated that in evaluating the impact on the environment experts did not take into account the fact that 40 unique species of flora and fauna live next to the future factory. It also had grievances concerning the proximity of the factory to the water edge and the correctness of public hearings on the project.

According to LLC AquaSib, the first stage of the Kultuk water bottling factory should be commissioned at the end of 2019, and to reach the rated capacity within two years. The factory is due to produce 154,800 cubic meters of water per year by 2022. It was reported earlier that investments in the factory project would amount to 1.5 billion rubles.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he had ordered a verification of the project's compliance with environmental standards. The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights said, with reference to limnologists, that the construction of the Baikal water bottling factory could endanger rare animal species.

According to the SPARK-Interfax analytical system, AquaSib has as its key owner the Lake Baikal limited liability water company, registered in Heilongjiang province, China. AquaSib was registered in Irkutsk in August 2012.