Turkmen leader promises citizens free utilities

October 26, 2006 05:11


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Turkmenistan's eccentric leader had the parliament promise free natural gas, power and water to every citizen in the energy-rich desert nation through 2030. "This decision would help ensure a carefree life for our people," President Saparmurat Niyazov said Wednesday, adding that the nation had enough hydrocarbons to last 250 years. Niyazov, who prefers to be called Father of All Turkmen, first ordered in 1993 that all residents of the ex-Soviet nation receive gas, electricity, water and salt free of charge for a decade, and in 2003 had the move extended through 2020.

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