President Shavkat Mirziyoyev at a meeting in the Saykhunobod district of the Syrdarya province on April 13 touched upon the issue of forced labour of teachers and medical workers ahead of his trips to the province.
“Regarding my trips to the provinces, I have always requested the local authorities not to make too much of preparations for my visit. I must admit that there are many cases of window-dressing ahead of my trips. Frankly, it disgusts me. By forcing the people, especially social workers, doctors, teachers, students to clean the streets ahead of my visits, you are betraying not only me, but the reforms.
I know perfectly well what is behind the walls, which streets in Uzbekistan are in dire state, which roads are dirty. People will not say thank you for lime washing some places, the people are tired of promises ... Why do you think I am not convening the meeting in the center of Sirdaryo, but I came to Saykhunobod, it is because I know the state of affairs everywhere. We have many friends and we have a lot of enemies as well. By your actions you are providing grist to the mill of our enemies. the heads of all provinces and districts must know this.
I am aware of the death of a schoolteacher [Diana Enikeeva] in Samarkand province. Some mayor, deputy probably told them that some big man is coming to visit. It happened three days before my arrival. But in my heart I feel as if she died because of me.
Let's make a deal, I want to warn all leaders: henceforth, if you force the people, especially teachers, doctors or students to perform some works in some province ahead of my visit, you will get very severe punishment by law. I have to say this because this illservice has been continuing on repeated basis.
After all, from day one we agreed to serve to our people honestly and fairly. Who needs such window-dressing? In my heart there is a lot of pain and regrets. No one better than me knows in what conditions our people are living. Despite the fact that I smile, there is a lot of pain inside of me. I am saying it from the bottom of my heart, if you are my friends, then stop this ...
“Our enemies are joyful and saying look what happened, people are being forced to do thias and that”… I know the state of affairs in the periphery. I know very well that what hasn’t been accomplished in a quarter of a century, it is not possible to do in half a year. I know that there are many unemployed, dissatisfied people.
I even know that in today’s meeting many of you may have been instructed or prepared to act one way or another. Don’t prepare (instruct) the people, no matter how difficult the problems are. I came here to hear the people, their problems, improve the situation, I am not here just to hear praising, lofty words and applauses . We have all these years praised, spoken lofty words and applauded, and now we have left behind (in terms of development) for 20 years in all areas. The times of window dressing, lofty words and praising are now gone. We have in fact nothing to be proud of or praise ourselves. We are in the beginning of a very hard path."