Protest in Klina, July 2023. Photo: BIRN.

Residents of Klina Continue Protests Against Cement Factory Construction

Residents of Klina and environmental activists protested once again to oppose the construction of a cement factory in the village of Dollc.

On Tuesday, they gathered with slogans such as “Don’t touch Dukagjini,” “Protest against the cement factory,” “Let’s live in our own country,” “Let me breathe freely,” and “Let’s protect the environment,” voicing their opposition to the construction of the cement factory.

For more than two years, residents of the villages Gremnik, Dresnik, Dollc, and other villages in the north-western town of Klina have consistently protested against the cement factory.

Representative of the organizing group, Veton Rraci, called for a permanent halt to the construction of the factory, which has faced several protests since 2020.

Rraci claimed that the Municipality of Klina opposed and hindered this peaceful protest, organized by the Association for the Protection and Defense of the Environment.

“In meetings with the mayor, he assured us that as long as there are residents against the cement factory, it will not be allowed. Unfortunately, behind our backs, he worked to provide the operators with documentation in a sneaky manner,” said the representative of the organizing group.

Rraci accused the local authorities of falsifying documents to build the cement factory.

“They tried to forge documents to provide the documentation for the construction of the cement factory, falsifying the report of the public hearings, and thanks to this, they managed to obtain the documentation,” he added.

BIRN sought a statement from the mayor of Klina, Zenun Elezaj, but he declined to comment on the organizers’ claims, stating that he would respond through the competent authorities of the Municipality.

As of the publication of this article, the Municipality of Klina has not yet responded.

Last year, Elezaj had stated that the decision to grant the building permit was made because the company intending to invest had obtained all the necessary documents from central institutions.

The contracted company, Wallingford International – Kosovo, was licensed by the Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals in August 2020.

In 2020, citizens opposing this factory collected around 4,700 signatures on a petition against the construction of the factory.

Citizens continued their battle against the cement factory even in the Klina Municipal Assembly, where they received support from the members of the assembly who made decisions to overturn approvals “related to the quarries for supplying raw materials to cement factories.”

However, the decision by the assembly dating back to March 2020 was deemed unlawful by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Administration, MAPL.

After MAPL’s interpretation of the Municipal Assembly’s decision, which it considered to be in violation of the law and negatively affecting the economic development of Klina, the municipality issued the permit for the construction of the factory in January 2022.

26/07/2023 - 17:24

26 July 2023 - 17:24

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