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At the beginning of the sitting, the Riigikogu held a moment of silence in remembrance of the Member of the Riigikogu Peeter Kreitzberg who had died an unexpected death.
The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts replied to the interpellation concerning the resolutions of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Railways Ltd (No 43), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Rannar Vassiljev, Sven Mikser, Urve Palo, Jaan Õunapuu and Eiki Nestor on 20 September.
The interpellators wished to know the Minister’s position on the resolutions of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Railways concerning the purchase of 16 new locomotives of Chinese origin.
Parts explained that according to the Board of Eesti Raudtee, the company had been looking for ways to purchase new locomotives or to modernise existing ones since 2008, before announcing a tender for new locomotives. The Minister remarked that it was economically smarter to purchase new locomotives rather than maintaining a fleet of old ones. The manoeuvring locomotives used by Eesti Raudtee date to 1979–1987. Parts quoted the presiding Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Eesti Raudtee Viljar Arakas, who had explained that the new Supervisory Board made the overwhelming majority decision on the basis of economic arguments because failure to update the manoeuvring locomotive fleet would have delayed the economic development and competitiveness of the company.
Parts emphasised that the parties to the contract must act under agreed terms and fulfil the conditions of the contract. The Minister stressed that although the state owns the shares of Eesti Raudtee, the company is still responsible for fulfilling its own duties. “Following the specifications of the tender and the contract signed under these conditions, the Chinese factory that supplies the locomotives can only produce locomotives that correspond to the utilisation norms valid in the European Union as well as for the 1520 mm gauge rail network,” Parts said. According to the contract, the world renowned certification organisation Bureau Veritas Certification has been involved from the initial stages of the locomotive design process. Eesti Raudtee sub-company Cargo has the right to withdraw from the contract without suffering any damages if the locomotives procured do not receive certification, Parts stressed. He highlighted the assessment of the experts of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, according to which the planned logistic scenario will upon its eventual realisation greatly improve the economic indicators of cargo transport.
The Minister of Education and Research Jaak Aaviksoo replied to two interpellations. They were the following:
the interpellation concerning new school textbooks (No 44), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Yana Toom, Deniss Boroditš, Viktor Vassiljev, Ester Tuiksoo, Mailis Reps, Aivar Riisalu, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Inara Luigas, Enn Eesmaa, Eldar Efendijev and Tarmo Tamm on 26 September;
the interpellation concerning the education expenditure allocation in the state budget (No 45), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, Deniss Boroditš, Kalle Laanet, Eldar Efendijev, Tarmo Tamm and Enn Eesmaa on 12 September.
The Riigikogu Press Service