Since late May, following the criticism by the President, the privatelyowned retail outlets and various consumer services shops, have been closed down by the Ashgabat authorities if they are not envisaged by the urban development plan.
It has turned out that the new restrictions apply not only to the capital. Correspondents of Chronicles of Turkmenistan report that dozens of stores located in privatelyowned residential buildings were shut down in the city of Yoloten in Mary velayat.
It should be emphasized that a few years ago owners of these shops obtained official permits to open the retail outlets as the premises had been remodeled to meet the requirements imposed by the municipal authorities. However, this decision was revoked and commerce was banned.
According to a local resident, the unemployment situation in the region is appalling, but instead of addressing the problem the authorities deprived about a hundred households of the income.
Many houses are vacant. They were locked and the owners left for Turkey in search of jobs. When an overseas company was building a match factory in the outskirts of the city, we could be temporarily employed at the construction site. Then the foreign company left the town. Some are trying to survive by engaging in trade but this business has now been banned. It appears that these people might also move overseas. Elderly people and children are primarily left in the city, an interlocutor to Chronicles of Turkmenistan said and added that this is quite a typical situation across Mary velayat.
The entrepreneurs, whose shops had been closed down, reported that the problem could have been resolved in the local khyakimlik's office but this would cost 18 to 20 thousand manats.
Where should we get so much money? We sell cheap groceries to retirees and the unemployed. Moreover, there are no guarantees that we would not be forced to curtail our operations in a month from now, an outraged owner of the store, which had been closed down, says.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan