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Kazakh Capital Dims Many Traffic Lights

Tue., May 21, 1996

The shutdown of dozens of traffic lights has turned intersections in this Central Asian capital into a motorist’s nightmare.

Almaty turned off about 100 of its 270 traffic signals early last week. The city cited the failure of the private company SMEU, which is responsible for their upkeep, to pay its electric bill.

A spokesman for SMEU, Sergei Bezabotin, said the city is to blame for not paying the equivalent of $944,000 it owes the firm for its services. As a result, he said, the company can’t pay its taxes and owes the government $700,000.

About 200,000 cars are registered in Almaty, a city of 1.2 million people.

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