'It is better to admit that we are not ready for such snowfalls'

Ufa residents criticised the mayor for promising to clear the city of snow in 2 days

'It is better to admit that we are not ready for such snowfalls'
Photo: Emil Ziyangirov

After the challenges with ice, which Ufa Mayor Sergey Grekov called a “rare phenomenon”, a much more frequent phenomenon — snowfall — hit Ufa. On December 21, the mayor promised to rescue the capital of Bashkiria from the captivity of snowdrifts in 2 days. However, more than a week has passed, and it is still not easy to move around Ufa streets and yards. The situation has been aggravated by heavy snowfall over the weekend. As it turned out, the winter headquarters, created just for the operational solution of such problems, does not help out yet. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

“Why promise to clean up in 2 days?"

The mayor's statement about the timing of cleaning the city from snow has surprised many Ufa residents. During the promised time, and even later, not all citizens noticed an increased activity of road equipment for cleaning the street.

“Very interesting. For 2 days that I go to work, I haven't seen a single car either in the morning or in the evening. All roads are so covered with snow, snow is everywhere, it is impossible to walk or drive. I was on Oktyabrya Prospekt — the situation is sad, you turn a little to the right into the parking lot — you risk not leaving there without someone's help. Every year they only write that they have bought equipment, and now winter comes so unexpectedly for everyone. So where is your new equipment?" asks Daria Girfanova, a resident of Ufa.

To taxi driver Ilkham Mavliev, the efforts of the city authorities seemed quite sufficient to combat the elements, only the promise raised questions.

“I see that they have cleaned and worked. I've been driving all over town all week. I saw equipment and janitors on the streets, it's just that a lot of snow fell during the first snowfall. It was clear to me right away that it cannot be removed in 2 days. Why promise to clean up in 2 days if, according to the weather forecast, it will continue to snow?" the driver is perplexed, in his opinion, the sidewalks have been cleaned better this year, but there are problems on the roads. “Shafiev Street, very close to Oktyabrya Prospekt — but there are just ice bumps on the road, icicles are sticking out. There, if you don't slow down, you can punch the wheel. In the area of Yuzhny Bus Station at the intersection of Galle and Zorge streets — the same story. But these are big streets. So during peak hours, traffic jams are 9-10 points there.”

Activist Albert Rakhmatullin, who is not indifferent to the problems of housing and communal services, is more categorical. In his opinion, it was not worth making promises that were impossible due to weather conditions:

“Mountains of snow along the roads, occupying an entire lane, led to 10-point traffic jams. There is almost no snow removal. Well, the yards are certainly not cleaned. We haven't seen janitors for a long time. Of course, it's better not to promise this. It is better to admit that we are not ready for such snowfalls, apologise and report daily on the cleared streets and yards.”

“There has never been such a thing that they cleared the city in 2 days”

The head of the Centre for Public Control in the Housing and Communal Services in Ufa, Rim Bulatov, in a conversation with Realnoe Vremya, expressed the opinion that criticism of the authorities due to poor-quality cleaning of streets and yards from snow is already a familiar phenomenon, and before criticising, it is necessary to take into account all the circumstances.

“Every year we criticise the authorities for cleaning, we believe that there is not enough snow removal equipment. A lot depends on the snowfall. This time the snowfall has been very heavy, and many cars were directed to highways. You saw what was happening on our highways. Trucks could not pass. The main forces were thrown there.”

Rim Bulatov notes that the main problems are observed in the yards, which is why pensioners suffer mainly.

“I'm all over the city, I'm doing an assessment. People complain about poor cleaning. There are especially many complaints from Kalininsky and Kirovsky districts of Ufa. People are complaining about the yards, the yards are cleaned very badly. A lot of snow and slippery. The elderly suffer especially, they fall. After all, we can't tell them — stay at home.”

The head of the centre noted that the deadlines set last week for cleaning the city in 2 days under current weather conditions cannot be fulfilled even with the optimal operation of public utilities.

The lack of janitors remains a big problem for the city, according to Rim Bulatov. In such situation, public utilities need help from volunteers.

"14,620.3 c.m. of snow mass have been removed”

The press service of the Ufa administration told Realnoe Vremya that the city's housing and communal services promptly respond to changes in weather conditions, and the city is cleared of snow around the clock:

“On Sunday afternoon, 330 units of municipal and residential equipment and 842 road workers and janitors were involved in snow removal, on the night from Sunday to Monday — 252 units of municipal equipment and 78 road workers. Over the past day, the municipal services of the city of Ufa removed 14,620.3 cubic metres of snow mass.”

By Monday morning, according to officials, the main thoroughfares, the territories of public transport stops and sidewalks were allegedly cleared, there was no traffic collapse. “It should be noted that during heavy snowfalls, first of all, the services remove the main highways, where there is a large passenger traffic, public transport stops, sidewalks, approaches and entrances to social facilities, courtyards, and then move to secondary streets.”

The administration emphasises that 638 workers and 138 units of housing equipment were sent to clean yards in Ufa. Applications from citizens are also regularly accepted.

Last weekend, heavy snowfalls hit Bashkortostan. As a result, 30 cars got stuck in the morning on the M5 Ural highway. Not far from the village of Aleksandrovka, Karmaskalinsky district of the republic, an accident involving 22 cars occurred: one person was killed and five were hospitalised. The section of the federal highway M5 on the territory of Orenburg Oblast, Bashkiria and Tatarstan was temporarily closed for taxis, trucks and buses due to bad weather. Traffic was also blocked on some sections of the M7 and R240 highways.

Emil Ziyangirov. Photo: by the author