HYDERABAD: Several Facebook users are sharing posts that claim the citizens in Turkmenistan have been provided free utilities like water, gas, and electricity since 1991.
"Water, Gas and Electricity has been free in Turkmenistan since 1991(sic)," reads the post.
Social media users believe this free provision is currently prevalent in the country.
The claim is misleading.
It should be noted that Turkmenistan did provide its citizens with free water, gas, and electricity in the past. However, this did not start in 1991. This provision began in 1993 but currently does not exist.
Since 1993, people in Turkmenistan have been given free access to water, natural gas, and electricity. The free supply of these resources began when Turkmenistan's first president Saparmurat Niyazov introduced it for ten years and then extended it till 2030. Niyazov made water, gas, and electricity-free in 1993 shortly after the energy-rich country gained independence from the Soviet Union.
This, however, could not continue due to the economic situation of the country as it had been struggling to cope with a fall in energy prices since 2014.
The idea of stopping free water, gas, and electricity was brought up by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in order to help Turkmenistan rationally use its natural resources and develop a free market economy. The provision of free gas, water, and electricity ended in 2019. In 2018, Berdymukhamedov ordered a complete end to free natural gas, electricity.
"I am signing the law on ordering payments for gas, water, electricity, housing, and communal services, transport, and communications," President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said.
On January 1, 2019, Turkmenistan stopped providing free drinking water, gas, and electricity to its citizens following the decree signed by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. This makes it clear that the country doesn't offer such provisions to its citizens currently.
With this, it is apparent that the free provisions currently do not exist in the country.
Thus, the claim is misleading.