Ministry of Construction, Traffic and Infrastructure (MGSI) has initiated a procedure as per extraordinary legal remedy to consider annullation of the building permit for SHPP "Zvonce" in the village Rakita near Babusnica.
Enviroment Protection Institute of Serbia, department from Nis is about to issue an additional statement about the situation on Rakitska River, after which it will be decided whether to annullate the building permit or not.
The procedure is ongoing. Public hearing was organized by the Minstry in front of the competent second-degree organs on May 22, 2020 after ending the state of emergency. At the end of hearing, additional statement was requested from Environment Protection Institute, because they did not appear on the hearing, although invited. Since this is an administrative proceeding for the filed extraordinary legal remedy, it is necessary to reliably determine all the facts and enable all the participants in the process to submit their statements before the final decision. Draft resolution will be created after getting the statement from the Institute. Upon decision, this resolution will become final and involved parties don't have right to appeal, but they can start a dispute at the Administrative Court.
Construction of SHPP "Zvonce" in Rakita has been in focus of the public for quite some time, and especially after the republic environment protection inspector Milan Stetic, imposed on Goran Belic, investor of the SHPP "Zvonce" to remove the around 300m long pipeline from the river bed and completely restore the affected terrain. Although the Resolution was issued in January last year, the pipes are still there. Ministry of Environment Protection has rejected Belic's appeal and confirmed the resolution issued by the inspector, but not even that was enough to conduct the resolution and remove the pipes. Investor has filed a new appeal at the Administrative Court, because he claims that the organ which issued the ban is not competent, and the pipes are still in the river bed.
Defend the Rivers of Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) movement (DRSP) has decided to end the stalemate, so it has invited the activists to gather in Rakita in big number at the end of July, to "take the pipes out of Rakitska River" and that way execute the legally-binding Resolution of the Ministry of Environment Protection.
"We give them one more month to act and enforce the law. All the deadlines have passed; the time has come to finally free Rakitska River, because law needs to be respected and people need to continue to live next to its river. The question of survival is the question of existence of the legal state. Whether the legal state exists, or SHPP "Zvonce" exists. Citizens will come to Rakita in big number at the end of July, where we will make a work action and that way conduct the Resolution issued by the Ministry of Environment Protection. The exact date will be decided upon and everyone will be notified soon", says one of the founders of DRSP Aleksandar Jovanovic Cuta.
Jovanovic also says that DRSP has announced the proclamation of the "ecological autonomy" everywhere where people's lives are in danger, where there's a possibility that they run of water supply, or their environment has been endangered some other way.
"If the state doesn't enforce the law, its citizens will, whose lives are affected. The state has a choice: either to do what they should, or to prevent the citizens from enforcing the law by conducting its decisions themselves. Either they do it in 30 days, or we will. If they try to stop us, they will have ecological refugees in front of the Government of Serbia; citizens of Rakita will come there with all their belongings and then government should tell them where to move - somewhere where there's enough water", says Jovanovic.
"Nobody asks us anything"
Desimir Stojanov Desko, predsednik MZ Rakita, kaže da mišljenje meštana vezano za izgradnju ove MHE niko nije uzeo u obzir, iako su ukazivali da takav objekat nije po zakonu.
"The moment we found out about the plan to build SHPP, we have filed several complaints during the public presentation, emphasizing that such object is both illegal and that building conditions are not being respected. The environment protection inspector has confirmed this in his resolution, against which there's no appeal or postponement, but the execution is still pending", Stojanov says.