President Putin meets Natural Resources Minister

President Putin of Russia had a routine meeting with Vitaly Artyukhov, Russian Minister of Natural Resources, on Tuesday.

According to Artyukhov, the drafts of two new codes - a forest and a water code -- have been submitted to the government. A specific feature of these documents is intensification of the government's control and surveillance functions of the use of forests and water reservoirs. Apart from that, the minister said that the department he was heading had prepared the concept of a law on protection of water conservation facilities.

Artyuknov said that the ministry had analyzed the situation at the water facilities following the floods in southern Russia. The decision has been taken to establish institutes of water management in the south and centre of Russia, as well as in the Far East.

As for the functioning of the forest sector, it is proposed to intensify state management of the forests and to phase out commercial methods in the use of forests.

When mentioning the problem of forest fires, Artyuykhov noted that it was peatbogs, rather than forests, that were burning in the current year. According to him, the area of fires in Russia was twice as little as in Canada, and much less than in the USA.

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