Russia's notorious Bailkal paper plant, which contaminates the unique lake for several decades, will be shut down, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday.
"All decisions on that issue have been made by the government. The work over the plan (to close the plant) must be completed by the end of summer," Medvedev told a meeting with the ruling United Russia party activists in the Irkutsk region.
According to Medvedev, the government will allocate over 40 billion rubles (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) for re-development of the Baikal area after the plant is closed. Three billion rubles (94. 7 million dollars) more are to be allocated for re-cultivation of the environment damaged by the plant's production.
Medvedev described the situation around the plant "one of the most controversial pages in the history of national industry."
"It's time to take courage for making responsible decisions," he added.
Medvedev vowed to re-employ workers of the plant in order not to aggravate social situation in the Irkutsk region.
"Everyone should win, both people and nature," he said.
The Baikal paper plant, located at the lake's southern bank, was established in 1966. It has been the largest polluter of the lake's ecological system.
In 2009, the bankruptcy proceedings have been launched by the plant's shareholders, with 49 percent of shares being owned by the state.