Strpce inhabitants and residents of the village of Donja Bitinja in the Strpce municipality are holding a protest today against the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the rivers Lepenac, Bolovanka and Kaludjerka in front of the municipality building. The construction of the hydroelectric power plant at the Obereke site was suspended today.
Strpce residents are requesting that the municipal authorities revoke the licenses for the construction of the hydroelectric power plant, the Pristina-based Koha reported.
The Kosovo Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Fatmir Matoshi recently informed the Agriculture Commission that he could not overrule the decision on the construction of several hydro-power plants in the Strpce region.
Matoshi said that he found such a situation when he became the head of the ministry. He added that he does not have the authority to do anything about it because, in his words, construction companies possess the necessary documentation for the construction of hydroelectric plants.
A representative of the village of Donja Bitinja, Agron Rushiti stated that there was no public discussion before the construction of the hydroelectric power plant.
„We did not participate in any public discussion about this construction,“ Rushiti emphasized.
He expressed concern over the decrease in the water level in the Lepenac River, presenting photographs showing the river before and after the construction of the hydroelectric power plant. Rushiti said that there is no life without water in these parts and that the inhabitants will not have drinking water due to the hydroelectric power plant.
The residents of Strpce have also been protesting in the past few months against the construction of a mini hydroelectric power plant on the rivers Kaludjerka and Bolovanka at the Obereke site. Despite several protests by the locals and conflicts with the police, the construction on this mini hydroelectric power plant continued two days ago.
Residents of Strpce who protested against the construction of the hydroelectric power plant at the Obereke site told KoSSev that they gathered at this site around 9am this morning after which they joined the protest in front of the municipality building.
According to Strpce residents, the Mayor was on vacation today and none of the other officials wanted to go out and talk to the citizens during the two and a half hours long protest. The deputy mayor, however, greeted two representatives of the citizens, one Serb and one Albanian, in the cabinet.
The deputy mayor allegedly told them that the ban on the construction of the hydroelectric power plant at the Obereke site issued back in 2016 was still in force and that members of the Kosovo Police Special Unit presented forged documents yesterday.
According to information from the field, communal inspectors will place tape around the construction site. The works on the plant were suspended today.
According to data presented in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report prepared by the Metkos Group from Pristina – which is in charge of the construction of both hydroelectric power plants, they plan to build five mini hydroelectric power plants along the Lepenac River: hydroelectric power plant Sara, hydroelectric power plant Brezovica, hydroelectric power plant Vic, hydroelectric power plant Brod and hydroelectric power plant Strpce.
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