Mineral war: the future of Novotersky healing is in doubt

Real water battles broke out in the Stavropol Territory. The object of the dispute was well No. 72, from which the Novoterskaya healing mineral water, popular among Russians, is extracted. The Federal Property Management Agency disputes the rights to it with the Kavmininter enterprise , which has been operating at the facility under license since 1994. The arbitration court of the first instance sided with the federal agency and ruled that the disputed well should be claimed from the property of Kavmininter . Moreover, if the decision on the transfer of the facility comes into force, the fate of the Novotersky healing bottling plant will be called into question. More than 200 people may be left without work. Local deputies do not exclude the possibility that the owners of the Mineralnye Vody-2 sanatorium, on whose territory water is extracted, can probably be involved in this situation.

In October, the Arbitration Court of the Stavropol Territory decided to recover well No. 72, which is the only source of Novoterskaya healing water, from the ownership of LLC Kavmininter.

The territorial administration of the Federal Property Management Agency filed a lawsuit with the court . The Izvestia agency said that in March 2017, the government commission on the socio-economic development of the North Caucasus Federal District (NCFD) ordered an inventory of hydrogeological wells. For this, an interdepartmental commission was formed, which included representatives of the president’s envoy to the North-Caucasian Federal District, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Stavropol Territory, and Kavminkurortresursy JSC.

Testing of well No. 72, located on the territory of the Mineralnye Vody – 2 private sanatorium, took place in August 2018. Judging by the materials of the Arbitration Court, in 1994 the well was transferred to the balance sheet of Kavminintera from a state-owned enterprise. The well was not privatized by the organization. Consequently, the disputed object cannot be considered alienated from state property in the manner prescribed by law, the case says . It notes that the actual use by Cavmininter of disputed property after transferring it to the balance sheet does not confirm the disposal of this object from the legal legal possession of the Russian Federation.

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In the regional Federal Property Management Agency, they added that, according to the local branch of the Territorial Geological Information Fund for the Southern Federal District, there are 6703 objects (drinking, technical and mineral) in the register of active wells in the Stavropol Territory, and 72 in the register of federal property.

“During the inventory, information was obtained on the use of wells by third parties without documents of title,” the department said.

The agency also stated that some wells ceased to be state property after they were unreasonably re-registered to third parties. The Office has filed lawsuits against various commercial organizations. Wells in respect of which the right of federal property will be recognized will be returned to the state’s economic turnover.

The building of the sanatorium “Mineral waters-2”

It is noteworthy that at the request of the Federal Property Management Agency the Mineralnye Vody-2 sanatorium was involved in the trial as a third party. The main argument was that the well was located on its territory, and the structures indicated in the documents were built by him during the period when he was a state institution.

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Since 1999, the boarding house has undergone several transformations, eventually becoming OJSC Mineralnye Vody Sanatorium, and then Mineralnye Vody-2 Sanatorium LLC. They refused to comment on the situation with the well for Izvestia.

Kavminintera’s lawyer Natalya Kalyugina told Izvestia that well 72 of the Zmeykinskoye field has been in the actual ownership of the organization since 1994, ownership of the ground structure was registered in 2002, and five years later on the land plot with the well.

– Our ownership is based on a license. The well was transferred from the balance sheet of the North Caucasus Hydrological Expedition at a cost of almost 14 million rubles in accordance with the legislation in force at that time . Thus, LLC “Kavmininter” owns this property lawfully. In addition, until recently, neither the territorial administration of the Federal Property Management Agency, nor other authorities as representatives of the owner showed themselves, the company noted.

According to the lawyer, due to the fact that all documents were executed 25 years ago, payment orders were written by hand. Since then, the bank that serviced the North Caucasus Hydrological Expedition was liquidated. Restore all the necessary documents is not possible.

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“The Federal Property Management Agency could ask the court to recognize the right of ownership, and not deprive us of the opportunity to use the well,” Natalya Kalyugina told Izvestia.

Now Kavmininter, extracting mineral water, distributes it between the sanatorium and the plant of Kavminvody JSC, which produces Novoterskaya healing and is one of the founders of Kavmininter LLC (its share is 13.63%). If the well is transferred to the state balance, the Committee on Natural Resources of the Stavropol Territory will be able to issue a license for water production to another enterprise. While this procedure will continue, the work of the plant will be called into question . It is possible that it may be closed, they fear in the “Cavmininter”.

– If this happens, more than 200 employees will be reduced. But most of the employees are people of pre-retirement age. The plant is a stable source of income for the residents of Pyatigorsk, Mineralnye Vody, the villages of Novotersky and Zmeika. Taxes paid by the enterprise in the amount of about 200 million rubles are sent both to the regional and federal budgets, ”Natalya Kalyugina emphasized.

Laboratory for monitoring the quality and content of salts and minerals in water at the plant

Laboratory for monitoring the quality and content of salts and minerals in water at the plant

According to the deputy of the Mineralovodsk city district from the village Novotersky Sergei Muravsky, now in the nearest settlements to the well there is practically no work. The plant remained the only enterprise with a stable and decent salary. Many worked on it for several decades and even brought their children there.

In the administration of the city district, Izvestia confirmed that it was aware of what was happening. But since the well is privately owned, they cannot intervene in the situation.

In turn, deputies of the Mineralovodsk city district from the village of Novotersky noticed that the owners of the sanatorium may be interested in recovering the well . About this “Izvestia” said one of them, Andrei Dorofeev.

– During the privatization of the sanatorium, for some unknown reason, the public road – Beshtaugorskaya Street – became its property. She leads to the plant. About a year ago, representatives of the sanatorium blocked the road and workers could not get to the enterprise. The owners of the sanatorium want the plant to pay them fare, ”the deputy added.

“Naturally, the defense will defend the rights of the company to the last, and the process may drag on for another year,” the expert said. – Based on the arguments of the court, Kavmininter had a development license, but he used the well without privatization. That is, the company did not draw up the necessary documents for its ownership. Since this was not done, then in fact the well remained in federal ownership, and in this case the statute of limitations is not considered. Perhaps, additional documents will be presented during the appeal process.

According to Anna Majar, organizations often face challenging a resource that was federal property. The fact is that in Soviet and post-Soviet times, few documents were drawn up and it was very difficult to collect them as evidence – serious work needs to be done in the archives.

Kavminvody JSC did not provide a comment on the situation. The plant itself has been operating since February 1995, the annual revenue from its activities is more than 800 million rubles. According to open sources, in 2018 the staff is 200 employees. According to the criteria specified in FZ-209 “On the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Russian Federation”, the organization belongs to medium-sized enterprises. In addition to the Novotersky healing plant, the plant is engaged in the production of drinking water obtained in the process of melting of centuries-old glaciers of the Greater Caucasus.