Protests against MHPP in Strpce: Matkos Group halted construction on private land plots

MHE Šrpce 01.10.2019.
PHOTO: Radoica Mrđinac

For ten months now, the citizens of Strpce have been unsuccessfully trying to prevent the construction of mini hydroelectric power plants in this municipality. They are still not giving up on what can only be described as a quixotic fight. They were able to temporarily halt the construction in Bitinja today, given that the works were being carried out on privately owned parcels of land – Strpce resident, Radoica Mrdjinac told KoSSev.

„The owners of the land parcels where the construction was carried out made copies of the cadastral parcels and title deeds, and compared them with the title deeds and copies of the plans of the Matkos Group. Inconsistencies were noted in those plans, and the Matkos Group then decided to allegedly suspend the construction,“ Mrdjinac explained.

About a hundred people, both Serbs and Albanians, attended the protest in Bitinja today. ROSU police units were once again present at the rally – he added.

„If they send water into pipes, every spring, every well will go dry“

Mrdjinac said that seven mini hydroelectric power plants were already built in the municipality. He also expressed concern over the rumors that the company plans to build 13 mini hydroelectric power plants.

„This would mean that all rivers, starting from the Lepenac, will have mini hydroelectric power stations built on each tributary,“ he explained.

According to Mrdjinac, the damage caused by the MHPPs affects the entire region because the environment is thus jeopardized and the entire ecosystem is affected.

„This is not just about how much Strpce is suffering, these works will lead to serious changes in the development of wildlife, it is a great disaster,“ he said, adding:

„Secondly, these are all spring waters from which the entire population is supplied – precisely from these rivers. If they send water into pipes, every spring, every well will go dry.”

„Although forbidden by law, works continued in the first zone of the national park“

Mrdjinac also spoke about the recent construction on Brezovica, Durlov Potok and Berevacki Potok located within the National Park of the Sara Mountain.

He claimed that the works continue „despite the fact that this company does not have valid documentation for the construction of mini hydroelectric power plants, because, especially when it comes to Brezovica, the works are carried out in the first zone of the national park where construction is prohibited by law“.

This Strpce resident further claimed that the police have a document on the prohibition of works in the national park, adding that they still did not prevent the construction of the MHPPs by the Matkos Group.

Local self-government has been „silent“ the entire time – he added.

“Local government is not reacting for one simple reason that it is trying to get something for itself out of this situation. They have sold the rivers, and since they have sold the rivers, they have to respect the price which they have agreed with the investor. It’s all corrupted. It was all done because of money, otherwise it has no economic justification,“ he said.

KoSSev has been trying to get answers from competent institutions, both in Pristina and Belgrade, as well as from international bodies for a month now. None of our written queries has been answered by anyone so far.

Shara Mountain was registered on the register of the Republic of Serbia, while the Kosovo institutions took over the premises of this national park in Brezovica in December 2015 and arrested the employees of the company. Shara was declared a National Park in 1984 and in December 2012, according to Kosovo sources, it was expanded under the new (Kosovo) law on the Shara National Park. The Brezovica ski resort is also part of the national park. This region is mostly inhabited by Serbs.


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