A teacher from Khaishi
This film - A teacher from Khaishi - was produced ten years ago by GIPA students and tells the story of one man’s fight to remain in his native village, Khaishi, in Svaneti. More than 500 families in Svaneti were forced to resettle after the Georgian government decided to build a large hydropower plant in the region. Zara Nizharadze, like many others, did not want to leave his village.
Construction of the Khudoni Hydro Power Plant began in 1979 and was halted in 1989. Protests supported by the environmental and national movements forced the government to delay construction.
The Georgian government decided to restart the construction of the Khudoni plant in 2005. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources initially planned for the construction to start in 2012 and end in 2018. Environmental activists identified several serious threats - significant changes to the landscape and microclimate, including soil erosion and landslides. The village of Khaishi would have disappeared and other villages in upper Svaneti should have been evacuated as well. Six hundred graves would have been flooded.
The government could not convince local residents that the project was worth their sacrifice. Due to residents’ persistent protests, the Khudoni plant was paused again and construction has never resumed.