Strpce residents once again prevented the construction of a mini hydro-power plant

obe reke hidrocentrala štrpce 12.07.2019
FOTO: Dejan Stevanović

The „Metkos Group“ company from Pristina again tried to start the construction of a mini hydro-power plant this morning around 9 am at the“Obereke” site in the municipality of Strpce. As the locals report, about fifty Strpce residents gathered at this location to stop the construction once again. Protest participants managed to breach the police cordon and prevent the construction. No one was injured.

In mid-February of this year, after more than two months of protests by the local residents, the construction of a mini hydro-power plant in Strpce was suspended and the bulldozer that was placed at the “Obereke” site was removed. At the time, the decision on the suspension of construction was made by the mayor of Strpce due to „murky drinking water in the reservoir“ and, consequently, „endangerment of the water supply of local residents“. The final decision, however, was left in the hands of the Kosovo Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning.

One of the organizers of the protest, Dobrivoje Stevanovic explained at the time that the final decision is in the hands of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, to whom a written submission was submitted.

Even before the decision of the ministry, the“Metkos Group” from Pristina again tried to continue the construction on the hydro-power plant in early May. A conflict broke out between the police and the local residents, who tried to stop the construction. Approximately twenty residents of Strpce were injured.

The permission for the use of the land at the “Obereke” location was given by MA Strpce in 2013. The same MA, however, imposed the suspension of the construction for an indefinite period.

This morning, however, the company again tried to continue the construction only a few days after the Kosovo Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning, Fatmir Matoshi said that he could not overrule the decision on the construction of several hydro-power plants in the Strpce region.

The bulldozer of the contractor arrived at the site accompanied by a Kosovo Police jeep – like the last time, as well as private security. According to locals, the police formed a cordon in front of the bulldozer, but the citizens breached it and prevented its further movement.

The citizens left the site around noon and the bulldozers ceased construction. The machines, however, remained at the site.

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