The Old Problems of the Old City

What problems will the mayor of Vushtrri have to face after this year’s local elections?

Vushtrri, which has around 65 thousand residents, is known for its historical monuments such as the Castle of Vushtrri, the Hamam, the Stone Bridge, and the House of Mahmut Agë Gjinolli; however, it also has several basic problems with its cultural heritage. These monuments do not receive institutional care. Months ago, the Castle of Vushtrri was about to be turned into a restaurant by the uncle of the current mayor, Bajram Mulaku, while 36 blocks fell from the Stone Bridge this year.

Residents also face basic problems in their day-to-day lives: Vushtrri has still not had its dream of having drinkable water come true.

Water and irrigation

This city still has problems with drinkable water, even after the water factory was built last year.

Seventy per cent of the villages are connected to the water irrigation system. While for the water supply network, apart from the city, only 30 per cent of the neighborhoods are connected.

Most of the villages of Vushtrri still are not connected to the water supply system and to the water irrigation. The villages that are further on the outskirts of the city have always had to receive their water supply from alternative sources. Meanwhile, sewage coming from villages that are not connected to the irrigation system is poured in the Sitnica River.

The project for building the water factory was finished in May 2016. This project cost around 8 million euros, granted by the Government of Kosovo. According to the project, this factory is supposed to produce 350 liters per second. However, even after this factory was built, citizens complained about the water supply, and those who live in villages still do not receive water supply from the network.

For three mandates in a row, Mayor Bajram Mulaku promised to provide drinkable water. During BIRN Kosovo’s mayoral debate series #DebatPernime (#RealDebates), the mayor abandoned this promise, and the three other candidates running for this mandate are still promising to provide water supply.

The water supply network lies in 11 villages of the eastern part of Mitrovica, which is supposed to be connected to the Vushtrri-Grace highway, which is being financed by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and is worth around 400 thousand euros.

Illegal waste disposals

The Municipality of Vushtrri has problems with 11 illegal waste disposals, whereas only 57 per cent of the citizens receive waste collection services.

The citizens of this municipality thus dump their waste into illegal landfills, because only half of the family economies in Vushtrri are offered waste collection services.

Some of these disposals are in the villages of Studime, Maxhunaj, and Reznik, and the biggest disposal is in Pestova, where waste from potato production is disposed.

According to the municipality, during 2017, 57 illegal waste disposals were found in the municipality of Vushtrri, out of which 46 were eliminated. Hence, based on the general number of family economies in the municipality, currently, 57 per cent of them are offered the service of waste collection.

Education, schools, and kindergarten infrastructure

In Vushtrri, only 3 of the 35 schools have labs, and only 2 of them have sports halls.

By the beginning of the new academic school year, this municipality stopped the transport of students due to lack of funds. Around 90 per cent of the villages of this city need transport.

Vushtrri has only one public kindergarten, while for a 4 year mandate, no such building was built.

During this mandate, the municipality of Vushtrri built three schools.

Health

Vushtrri has an emergency clinic, but it does not have enough staff. Despite this, a vacancy announced just before the elections was canceled with the excuse of the current Mayor Bajram Mulaku that the opposition can accuse him for “hiring campaigners during election times.”

Vushtrri has 19 health centers, but there is only one Main Family Center which works seven days per week and with two shifts. All other centers do not work on weekends and their working schedule is only until 3:00 p.m.

In the villages of Zhilivoda and Skroma, the centers work only three hours a day and not on weekends.

The citizens of Vushtrri are currently without two dentists, three nurses, and a few other health houses employees.

However, in this sector, health director Abdullah Klinaku, a while before his mandate ended, was hired in the hospital of the city, called Sheikh Zayed. The hiring of Klinaku in this position was done two months before the cabinet of Bajram Mulaku had its mandate come to an end.

However, this municipality also has problems with a lack of therapy in health centers. In some of them, there is no doctor, with the excuse that “there is missing staff.”

Nineteen health centers are functional in Vushtrri (excluding weekends), and three of them are located in the city. These health centers have an absence of therapy services.

“In some of these centers, the doctor is not present every day because there is missing staff, and the citizens hesitate to visit these centers where there is no therapy, so they are supposed to go to the city,” the municipality said in response to inquiries.

Agriculture and the budget

Vushtrri is known for producing and processing potatoes. The huge cultivation of potatoes is also thanks to the watering system, which covers a part of the territory of this municipality. However, unfortunately, houses were built throughout the agricultural land where the watering system is, which shrank the agricultural land.

In 2017, the Municipality of Vushtrri planned a budget of around 16 million euros, 4.4 million out of which was planned for capital investments. Vushtrri, like other municipalities, has problems with budget implementation. Based on the audit report, Vushtrri has managed to implement a budget worth 14.9 million euros, 3.3 of which went to capital investments.

Gender equality

Kosovo has a law on Gender Eq1uality, which requires men and women to be equally represented at all levels. The Kosovo Ombudsperson insists that this law should be fully implemented. Apart from the fact that the political parties announced their candidacies in the capital city, no woman was announced as a candidate, and both the directorate positions and the municipal assembly fail to be divided equally?

 

Out of 12 municipal directorates, during the previous mandate, only three of them were led by women.

In the race for mayor of the municipality of Vushtrri for the October 22 elections, the following candidates are running: Abdullah Vojvoda from Nisma, Besim Muzaqi from Vetëvendosje, Ferit Idrizi from PDK, Lutfi Bilalli from AAK, Nasuf Aliu from AKR, and Xhafer Tahiri from LDK.

The Municipality that aims to be the City with No Bus Stations

What are the problems that the next mayor of Shtime will face in the aftermath of October 22nd?

Illegal landfills, illegal constructions, lack of drinking water, including the basic issues with bus parking lots, are the challenges the next mayor of Shtime will face.

As a municipality with 27 thousand inhabitants, Shtime has 6 thousand illegal constructions, 8 illegal waste landfills, and since its establishment, the municipality has no bus stations.

The citizens of Shtime do not enjoy a special transport line to Prishtina, while the roads are overcrowded.

According to his magical wand of promises, the next mayor of the municipality manages 1.5 million euros to solve the existing problems of Shtime.

Money will certainly not be enough to solve all of the existing problems, and therefore, the municipality will face the challenge of prioritizing investments.

The municipality will face the challenge of eliminating waste landfills.

The river of Shtimjan, as photographed during the electoral campaign, is covered in waste.

The problems with waste and irrigation system are not faced only by the city of Shtime, but also the villages around.

The villages of Carralevë, Reçak, Pjetërshticë and Vojnoc have not fully completed the irrigation system yet.

The municipality of Shtime has drafted the plan for waste management, and it has allocated a specific parcel for solid waste. Shtime, according to municipal authorities, has eliminated around 20 illegal landfills across different neighborhoods, and are continuously eliminating such landfills.

Shtime has around 8 small illegal landfills, however, it remains impossible to determine the right number of existing landfills due to its continuous creation and elimination.

KALLXO.com investigation shows that Shtime has issues with water supply. During summer, the city faces water shortages, while the villages of Llanisht, Topillë, Devetak, Dugë and Karaqicë have no water supply network.

The water reservoir, which was initially foreseen to supply with water the villages of Pjetërshticë and Carralevë, is built in the middle of the given villages. However,the village of Pjetërshticë is not supplied at all with water, although the villagers have paid 70 euros each for having access to a water source.

The city with 6 thousand illegal constructions

The municipality of Shtime has around 6000 illegal constructions, while the next mayor will face the challenge of legalizing constructions along with determining relevant taxes. Based on the answers delivered by the municipality, there are around 6000 illegal buildings constructed during the process of legalization, including villages. On Urbanization, the most overcrowded streets are the following: “Tahir Sinani” “Mic Sokoli” and “Imer Devetaku.

Our research shows that the citizens of Shtime wait for their bus from there to here.

The municipality with no gynecologist, dentist, and pediatrician

 

Although the municipality of Shtime has invested within the health sector, this municipality lacks gynecologists, dentists, and public pediatrician.

The Family Medical Centers are classified as centers of basic health, and as such, the citizens of this municipality should travel to Ferizaj in order to receive the services of the gynecologist and dentist.

The emergency services are only functional within one village, while residents of other villages should travel for emergency cases.

 

 

 

Obilic: A Synonym of Pollution

What are the responsibilities of the next mayor of Obilic in the aftermath of October 22?

Obilic has become synonymous with pollution in Kosovo. Due to coal mining and the operation of two old power plants, the Municipality of Obilic has become highly polluted.

The municipality alone cannot deal with the troubles the energy industry brings to the area, but is expected to care for the well-being of 21 thousand residents. Obilic residents have various illnesses due to the operation of the power plants, especially respiratory illnesses.

So far, Obilic has been faced with all of the pollution caused by the Kosovo Energy Cooperation, KEK, but has benefitted from nothing in return. Last year, the Kosovo Assembly approved the law for this city, which is more advantageous for the inhabitants living close to the energy industry. In the future, Obilic will have a higher budget allocated for capital investments, which will better the lives of citizens. Twenty per cent of the mining rent KEK pays will return to Obilic, or between 4 and 6 million additional euros, which varies depending on amount of coal extraction.

 

As if the troubles of the Municipality that hosts KEK were not enough, the Prishtina region’s waste is discharged into the territory of Obilic, risking the occurrence of an ecological catastrophe in the landfill of Mirash. After many years of mismanagement, the largest landfill in Kosovo represents an environmental catastrophe, and may cause irreversible water pollution.

 

Obilic also has problems with illegal waste landfills, including the lack of irrigation systems and the presence of vastly polluted rivers. The Sitnica River is now transformed into sewage collector in a few cities.

The village with no convenience store

Although the municipality has reported that they are continuously trying to eradicate the presence of sewage and illegal waste landfills, KALLXO.com has identified waste landfills in many areas of this municipality. According to the municipality, Obilic has secured a contract for the cleaning of the Sitnica River, and is currently in the process of securing another one for the Llap River.

According to this municipality, Obilic faces sewage issues in a few parts of the municipality; according to Obilic, around 80 per cent of the territory is included in the sewage system.

Some villages have basic problems related to the operation of KEK. In the past, some neighborhoods of the Hade village were displaced. Considering that a huge number of families were displaced from Hade due to inhumane living conditions, this village is currently inhabited by a small number of people. These citizens have basic problems: they have no public transport or schools, and not even convenience stores. The village of Shipitullë is in the same situation, the residents of which are expected to movie soon, as well as the villages of Sibovc and Grabovc, which are affected by the mining.

In the villages of Sibovc, Shipitull, Hade, roads are damages, especially due to the heavy vehicles movement, while in some parts there are no sidewalks of public lighting.

Complaints about kindergartens and the need for shelter

 

This municipality also has issues in the education sector. During the past mandate, a school was constructed in the village of Lajthishtë, as well as three other school annexes in Kozaricë, Mazgit i Ulët and Plementin. Nine out of 21 schools work in two shifts, and 21 schools have no labs. Obilic has one public kindergarten. The other kindergarten of the municipality, although investments have been made, is closed and not functional.

The municipality of Obilic is also inhabited by families faced with shelter issues. According to the municipality of Obilic, there are 112 families that have submitted requests for shelter. During this mandate, the municipality of Obilic has built no collective living center, despite the huge number of requests. Based on the KALLXO.com investigation, three buildings of local communities have been built in Obilic during 2009-2011. So far, none of the buildings are functional. These buildings have only demolished since its construction.

The village of Plemetin is also inhabited by members of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities. Based on KALLXO.com’s research, a while ago, although the municipality has built a flat to the communities, the roof of the flat caught on fire. The municipality has not taken any measures regarding the previously mentioned case.

 

The Lake for Recreation and the Collector of Sewage

What are the problems and challenges the next mayor of Malisheva will face?

Malisheva, with the support of the local governance, has managed to not allow its citizens to die from tick biting, which cause hemorrhagic fever. In the past few years, tick biting deaths were avoided.

However, Malisheva has many other issues, which are not to be proud of. The most challenging problem of the next mayor will be the irrigation system and sewage treatment.

Half of the population in this municipality is connected to an irrigation system, although an irrigation tube that ends at the collector, crosses through the city.

This tube is severely damages, and the sewage does not reach the collector, but is discharged into the river. This collector, which passes through the main collector from Temeqina that connects all villages of Malisheva, does not connect the villages of the municipality. As such, the collector is damaged, and entirely out of function. All sewage is discharged into the river of Mirusha, and ends in the artificial lake. This recreational lake is now transformed into a sewage collector.

In the beginning of 2016, the municipality of Malisheva, has had issued with flooding, although the issue remains prevalent even today. Moreover, in the village of Mirusha, people live their lives fearing that one day the dam, which is located by the municipality that supports the artificial lake, may explode due to the damage it has suffered.

This dam is severely damaged from the recent floods in Malisheve, which may severely threaten the lives of people residing in the neighborhood of Mirusha.

Infrastructure and Education

 

The Municipality of Malisheva has issued 53 construction permits. Only three areas of the city have regulatory plans: the neighborhood “Gërmiza”, “Goleshi” and the center of Malisheva. The rest of the zones, and the villages may construct buildings by no particular plan or regulatory. The Municipality of Malisheva still has no Municipal Development Plan. Although the plan was drafted by the executive and approved by the Municipal Assembly, it has not yet received the approval of the Ministry of Local Government Administration. In the given municipality, there is a significant lack of public lighting, specifically in the villages of Malisheva. In Caralluka, the construction was annulled about 120 meters in the most dangerous zone for children, which leads to the “Ragip Latifi” neighborhood, within which numerous students live.
The municipality continues to face problems within the education sector, although it has made investments in this particular field, specifically construction of the first kindergarten. Firing and rehiring teachers based on the decision of court decisions is another highlighted problem, while the results of the national test show that only 77% of Malisheva graduates have passed, in the first term, the national test. Contrary to the given municipality,  in Gjakova, 85.71% of students passed this test.

Sports and finances

The municipality of Malisheva has no football stadiums in function. This stadium was built under the governance of Isni Kilaj, however, it soon was demolished under the governance of Begaj although no game was played. In 2016, the municipality of Malisheva has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports in regards with the stadium renovation, but the given stadium remains non-functional still.

 

The municipality of Malisheva has a budget of 12.3 million, of which 94% comes as a grant from the government, and only 6 percent the given municipality manages to collect itself. In order to solve all of the given issues, the Malisheva municipality has a budget of 3.5 million euros for capital investments, while the rest of the budget goes for wages and salaries

According to the Agency of Statistics, Malisheva has 56 thousand residents- almost reaching the number of residents in Lipjan and Drenas, and 15 thousand more residents than Fushë Kosova. In 2016, Malisheva had only 586 thousand euros self-generated revenues, while in 2016, the municipality had an amount of739 thousand euros self-generated revenues. Malisheva\s revenues are for 1 million lowekr than those of Lipjan, half a million lower than those of Drenas, and 1.3 million euros lower than Fushë Kosova.

 

Tourism Potential, Ruined by Waste and Unemployment

Dragash, also known as Sharri, is a municipality associated with natural beauty that could be used for mountainous tourism development. Thus far, the municipality has invested very little in this sector

This municipality, with a budget worth 6.2 million euros, invests most of its budget on salaries, goods, and services, while only 1.3 million euros are allocated for capital investments.

In 2016, the municipality realized revenues generated worth 131 thousand euros, which is very low compared to other municipalities.

The first thing that catches your eye when you enter the municipality is the waste landfills close to rivers. An investigation by KALLXO.com reveals that there is a severe environmental situation in the mountainous zone in Dragash, considering that both waste and sewage are actually poured into rivers.

Rivers that pass through the villages of Bellobrad, Rapçë, and Bresanë are transformed into waste deposits.

According to the residents of the abovementioned villages, some of the residents throw the waste themselves, and they call on the municipality to engage inspectors to punish irresponsible citizens.

In the village of Brezne, the sewage ends up in the middle of the village, in the private trash collectors built by the families themselves. Sewage is the main problem within the town, considering that during the rainy days, the sewage flows into the middle of the road.

Water

Dragash has water supply issues, although the municipality has plenty of water resources across the Sharri Mountains. Most of the villages are equipped with a water supply network, but are supplied with water for only two to three hours during the day. Many villages do not even use the water for drinking due to its dirtiness, and are forced to get water from different resources.

The Auditor has revealed that only 78 per cent of the budget for capital investments is spent, considering that the project of the main Supplier, initially projected to be worth 500,000 euros, was not realized due to the Procurement Review Body’s complaints.

Education

 

Te municipality of Dragash is located at the border between the two Opoja and Gora villages. Different languages are spoken in these areas, as Opoja has an Albanian majority and Gora has a Gorani majority.

There are political and infrastructural issues in the education sector.

Based on KALLXO.com’s investigation, there are schools within this municipality that use parallel curriculums.

Serbian parallel structures continue to be present within the Municipality of Dragash, where the lectures are delivered in Serbian, and in accordance with the Serbian government’s curriculum.

Additionally, in several villages, lessons are conducted up to the fifth year, and as such, students from their sixth year up to their ninth year are forced to walk up to six kilometers per day in order to attend classes in the closest school.

These problems were identified by KALLXO.com in the villages of Zaplluxhë, Zym and Brezne, where children walk on roads with no sidewalks; these mountainous zones are even more dangerous due the presence of vehicles and stray dogs.

On the other hand, in Dragash, the students attend classes in the old Ruzhdi Berisha gymnasium, since the new school building is not functional, eight years after construction works began.

Infrastructure and urbanization

Road reparation in Dragash remains another issue of the municipality, considering that roads are not repaired in a timely manner.

KALLXO.com has reported on the pine trees planted by the residents in asphalt pits as a creative way to convey messages to the relevant authorities to close the dangerous pits.

Social health

 

The only gynecologist who was working in Dragash has now retired.

Meanwhile, this municipality has a high level of unemployment, and residents of the villages are leaving.

Out of 1,530 inhabitants, only 300 reside currently in the village of Rapçë, which has a Gorani majority. According to the residents, the village’s youth travelled to European Union countries to find jobs due the poverty within their hometown. In this village, there are also residents who live in severe living conditions.

The current mayor of the country is Selim Jonuzaj, from PDK, while mayoral candidates for the October 22 municipal elections are Admir Šola from Jedinstvena Goranska, Fatmir Halili from Nisma, Samidin Dauti from Vetevendosje, Selami Saiti from AAK, Šerif Aga from Koalicija Vakat, Selim Kryeziu from LDK, and Shaban Shabani from PDK.

Apart from not having communication officials, this municipality also has no women directors and no women mayoral candidates.

‘A Strong Competition’ between Peja’s Natural Beauties and its Garbage

What responsibilities will the Mayor of Peja have after the October 22 elections?

There are two women and five men vying for the position of Mayor of Peja for the next four years.
The municipality, which has about 96,000 inhabitants, has a budget of 22,646 million euros. From this amount, 13,194 million goes towards wages and salaries, while 5,820 million euros are allocated for capital investments.

Peja citizens expect from their next Mayor to demolish illegal buildings within the city, but hopefully the construction of new buildings will be prevented

As Kosovo’s local election day, October 22, is approaching, BIRN Kosovo’s mayoral debate series #DebatPernime (#RealDebates) has been presenting citizens with investigative research on municipal issues, as well as mayoral candidates’ platforms and promises.

KALLXO.com’s investigation shows that Peja has a problem with waste management and the treatment of stray dogs. There are also sewage treatment issues in tourist towns and villages.

In villages, there is also a lack of emergency clinics. And although there have been visible improvements in school infrastructure and constructions of new schools, there remains to be issues with the buildings.

During the #DebatPernime debate in Peja, residents had the opportunity to listen to the plans of seven mayoral candidates for tackling these issues.

 

 

Infrastructure

KALLXO.com has identified roads in Peja that have been neglected for many years. Çamëria Street in the Jarina neighborhood is in a poor condition and has not received investments in a long time.

However, Shpetim Bojku Street within the Tabje neighborhood was cobbled several years ago.

Residents said they have financially supported road improvement with their own means. But the road is completely damaged and the cuttings in some cases are not visible either. The main reason for road damage remains the overweight trucks that have crossed the Shpetim Bojku road, where new constructions are taking place. Municipal authorities have been notified of the problem, but have not taken any measures in this regard.
Residents of the neighborhood “7 Shtatori” have repeatedly complained about the danger associated with the four-lane Agim Qelaj Street. The speed of the vehicles passing through has often resulted in fatalities for pedestrians, especially students heading to the Xhemajl Kada school, the economic school, and that of the village of Vitomiricë. The road’s lack of speed limit signs, policemen, and signal lights remain to be the residents’ main requests from municipal institutions. KALLXO.com has reported on these concerns, and municipal authorities have promised to solve the issue.

A year after it was paved, part of the Drelaj-Koshutan road in Rugova was seriously damaged due to flooding and the lack of a drainage system on the side of the road. The municipality had invested about 900 thousand euros for this road project.

KALLXO.com visited this site and reported on this issue; the head of the Mayor of Peja’s cabinet pledged to regulate the road within a few weeks.

 

This year, the Peja Municipality expanded the main city square towards Hotel Dukagjini. There were previously parking spaces in front of the hotel, and now, with the new constructions in the city square, there are only spaces for hotel guests’ vehicles. Now the urban plan foresees space for citizens to walk freely.

Illegal constructions

Peja has not managed to control the construction of high-rise buildings. KALLXO.com’s investigation reveals that out of 28 high-rise buildings, 23 exceed building permits. The Director of Inspection has been arrested for charges regarding these constructions. Though he is no longer currently residing over his official duties, there have been no changes to the constructions.

This topic has been debated several times in the Assembly, but the municipality has not given a formal explanation of why no actions have been taken.

In addition to this problem, the municipality’s most attractive tourist destinations, the Rugova villages, have no regulatory plans and experience constant unregulated construction.
Waste

Peja is known for tourism, and the livelihood of the industry is in ​​Rugova. But, in these tourist sites, garbage is thrown along the road as well as throughout the villages of this region. Similarly, the city of Peja is overburdened with garbage on a daily basis. Without the presence of trash bins, sidewalks become clogged with garbage.

Ironically, most of the garbage is thrown in front of the Police Station, including on the road to the hospital. The abundance of waste also creeps up towards the school of the blind.

 

Sewage and river pollution

The Municipality of Peja is faced with an enormous sewage issue. The tourist area that hosts many guests annually has no sewage network, and most of the facilities do not even possess septic tanks.

The black waters of dozens of restaurants and hotels in the Rugova area, including those in the villages of Bogë, Haxhaj, Drelaj, and Shtupeq i Madh, are discharged into the Lumbardh River.

Peja has invested in the construction of beaches at Lumbardh, in the Rugova Gorge. Meanwhile, 26 kilometers further, sewage is discharged into Lumbardh, and below, people swim at “Peja Beach.”

Peja’s Lumbardh River has not been cleaned for a long time, and in addition to the water being dryed up, the banks are also filled with rubbish. Sewage flows into the water and crosses the city midway through the river.

After an extended struggle of tenders breaching procurement rules, the main river is finally being equipped with work on its riverbed.

In the meantime, in the Tabhane neighborhood, the riverbanks are collapsing and endangering the inhabitants.
Economic development and tourism

Tourism is the main pillar of Peja’s economic development. Boga remains the main point of tourism, while attractions at Rugova Gorge as such as the zip line have put Peja on regional maps for foreign and local visitors.

Peja’s major tourist project, the vision for the BOREA ski resort, has not yet been implemented. The Municipality of Peja, with a public-private Partnership, initiated this project, and it has projected investments worth 54 million euros.

The contract has been approved by the Government of Kosovo, and a draft contract has been signed between the parties; the constract is currently being negotiated with the winning company.

A finalist amongst the companies was initially believed to be a foreign company, but it was later discovered that a co-owner of the consortium is Valmir Krasniqi, married to singer Adelina Ismaili, said to be related to LDK.

 

Education

KALLXO.com’s investigation has revealed that the infrastructure of Peja’s school facilities has improved significantly over the last four years. A new high school of medicine has been built, while two other schools are being built, one for music and the other for art.

In 2016, the Municipality of Peja started constructing a new music school facility. But after the workings had begun and the foundation was completed, a water pipe burst, causing damage and thus moving the foundations of the building.

Damages were estimated at around 60 thousand euros. The municipality blamed the Hidrodrini Regional Company for the explosion of this pipe, while the company blamed the municipality. The dispute remains to be resolved by the judiciary.

However, in order to clean up the space, another tender had to be launched, worth the amount of 20 thousand euros.

After all these damages, which were worth of about 80 thousand euros, everything started again from scratch, and the building is now being constructed.  KALLXO.com has reported on its progress since the beginning.

 

The Municipality of Peja currently has two public kindergartens. During the years, an old kindergarten was ruined, and thus a new one was built. However, the new kindergarten was not built on the same parcel, which was used for the construction of the National Center of Judo, but instead, it was constructed across city’s small park.

 

Stray dogs

About 4,000 stray dogs still wander in the Municipality of Peja. The municipality has initiated a project regarding their treatment, gathering them from the city and taking them to a shelter in the village of Sferka, close to the waste dump. But this initiative did not last long, considering that there were allegations of ill-treatment of dogs by animal rights advocates.

The initiative came to an end when the dogs were released from the shelter. KALLXO.com has occasionally reported on the problem of the presence of stray dogs in the municipality of Peja.

Health

 

The whole Rugova region has no emergency clinic, though there are emergency facilities there.  Additionally, during the winter season, when the Bogë village is overcrowded by skiing visitors, there is no emergency clinics to be of use in case of any disaster.

Residents expressed their concern regarding the absence of an emergency clinic in the Rugova region, especially in the village of Bogë, which is the most inhabited village. KALLXO.com reported on this case here.

 

Investments into Klina’s Pedestrian Zone don’t Satisfy Citizens’ Thirst

What are the problems and challenges which the future mayor of Klina will have to solve?

There are five candidates from political parties aiming for the position of the Mayor of Klina for Kosovo’s local elections set to take place on October 22.

The municipality of Klina, which has around 40 thousand residents, has to face numerous problems that await solutions to be provided by the future mayor. Klina has an annual budget of 8,645,000 euros available, out of which only 2,111,000 are allocated for capital investments.

The most challenging problem for the future mayor will be to convince the citizens of Klina to consume the water coming from the new factory, while other villages need access and a well-established network in order to be provided with water in their taps.

An investigation conducted by KALLXO.com revealed that the building of a new square in the center of the city has blocked the circulation of cars through Klina. And even after 17 years, this municipality still does not have a bus station.

BIRN Kosovo’s mayoral debate series #DebatPernime (#RealDebates) has sent a team to Klina to research the issues citizens face there. The investigative researchers found that there are problems in treating sewage, environmental pollution, and problems related to infrastructure in health and education.

Some of these topics were discussed during the debate between Klina mayoral candidates, during which five of the candidates presented their solutions for citizens’ problems.

 

Drinkable water

The water treatment factory was initiated in August 2015. Around 2 million euros were invested in it. However, the water that comes out of that factory is not used for drinking by the residents of Klina.

The results published by the Public Health Institute from a study conducted in 2015 state that half of the samples have revealed that the water is not proper for drinking.

Results from the same type of study, conducted in 2017, show that the quality of water in Klina is good and it can now be used for drinking.

The investigation conducted by KALLXO.com has found that the citizens have insecurities when it comes to drinking water, and therefore do not consume it.

Also, in the cafeterias of the city of Klina, no tap water is consumed—only mineral water is served.

The water supply network covers 50 per cent of the territory of the Klina Municipality, and 25 of residents do not have water at all and have severe cuts.

The residents of village Sferka continuously complain about the lack of drinkable water for years now. KALLXO.com reported on these problems with drinkable water supply a few months ago.

Sewage and the environment

The research team has found that sewage coming from the city is poured in the Klina River, which is also contaminated and never gets cleaned.

Many other villages of the municipality of Klina face the problem with sewage.

The investigation shows that one of the biggest villages of this municipality, Sferka, has a serious problem with the sewage system.

The KALLXO.com team visited this village during summer and witnessed the concern of the residents of this area.

The sewage network has been blocked, while sewage is poured onto resident properties, which creates unbearable odors and health risks.

Additional villages of this municipality face the same problem.

Quarry dust

Klina residents have expressed their concern about air pollution and the high level of dust caused by the presence of quarries, which are active in the villages of Gllareva, Gremnik, Perqeve, Volljake, and Sferke. The quarries pay an annual tax of 500 euros to the Municipality of Klina.

Data from the United Nations Development Programme show that only 33 per cent of Klina residents are satisfied with the environmental protection and the care given towards nature and natural species in this municipality.

Infrastructure

Klina will soon have a new square, which is being built where the main street of the city used to be. The alternative roads that are being used by cars are too tight and they cause lots of traffic. Another problem is bus transport; busses struggle to drive through the tight roads of Klina.

The future mayor will have to continue this project, and needs to offer a solution for the transit roads in order to provide an easier access for vehicles, especially for the heavy vehicles.

Also, the lack of bus stations causes a barrier to street circulation in Klina because the buses wait for their passengers across the streets and disturb the movement of other vehicles.

In the majority of Klina villages, there are no sidewalks, and the citizens must walk on the sides of the streets. This is a great danger, especially to students.

From the field research, it is evident that Klina also has major problems with the lack of parking lots. In the majority of cases, vehicles park on sidewalks or in private parking lots.

Health

Due to lack of conditions in the center of family medicine, the Municipality of Klina has decided to close its maternity ward. As such, the women of Klina cannot give birth there, and must travel to Peja or Gjakova. Fortunately, the clinic can at least provide gynecologist checks.

In the villages of Klina, the citizens have complained that they do not have a doctor every day, while the villages of Kpuza and Perceva do not have centers for family medicine at all.

The conditions of the buildings of centers of family medicine are poor in the villages of Drenoc, Ujmire, and Jashanice. The walls and the windows are damaged, while the infrastructure surrounding the buildings is degraded.

Education

The current party in power has built three new schools, with good standards, during this mandate in the villages of Kpuza, Perqeva, and Jashanica. Also, during the last year, the municipality built new spaces for the Ismet Rraci school in Klina.

However, 25 schools in the municipality do not have sport halls. The school building in the village Gllareva is not in a good condition, and there is need for investment. The walls of the school have been damaged and the bathrooms are not in a good condition either.

Illegal constructions in the Protected Zone

Klina, similar to other municipalities, has issues with illegal constructions. In the village of Dresnik, also known as the “Agriculture Reserve,” based on a decision by the municipality of Klina, is declared as a protected zone due to some archeological findings. The KALLXO.com team went into the field, and many houses built without license were found in this location.

Economic development and the budget

The Municipality of Klina has decided to invest 1.5 million euros in building the square, while in 2016, it planned to invest only 70 thousand euros in agriculture. This municipality has a low level of revenues, and the majority of the budget comes as a grant from the central government. Along with the few own sources of income, it does not manage to spend it within the year, but they are transferred from year to year instead.

The audit report says that the Municipality of Klina has continuously transferred its budget from year to year. For example, in 2014, 218,000 euros were transferred from the previous year. In 2015, 315,000 euros were transferred, and in 2016, 196,000 euros were transferred.

There is a potential for economic development in a tourism industry for Klina, since in the zone of Dresnik, as well as in the archeological park of Ulpiana in Prishtina, many artifacts have been found. However, this potential for tourism lacks a clear vision since the municipality is not setting aside other search expeditions for archeological findings close to Dresnik.

 

Fushë Kosovë struggles with landfill and sewage management

What are the problems in Fushë Kosovë that will be transferred to the next mayoral mandate?

 

The Municipality of Fushë Kosovë has experienced a recent growth in the development of high-rise buildings, despite a lack of new kindergardens. This is just one issue amongst the many problems that Fushë Kosovë has inherited from the past, which grow year-by-year.

Around 36 thousand residents of Fushë Kosovë face drinking water problems, schools that operate in three shifts, a lack of parking lots and sidewalks, health care issues, and closed and demolished emergency clinics.

Fushë Kosovë also faces with river pollution as a result of industrial wastewater discharges, including illegal waste disposals across public spaces.

Since 2007, the municipality of Fushë Kosovë has been governed by Burim Berisha, from LDK, which as a party has governed the municipality since 2000.

During his 9-year period of governance, the head of the municipality has promised his citizens drinking water, which was not completely fulfilled, considering that half of the city of Fushë Kosovë is not connected to the water plant in Shkabaj due to a pipeline that failed to provide the connection.

Leading up to Kosovo’s local elections on October 22, BIRN Kosovo’s mayoral debate series #DebatPernime (#RealDebates) has conducted investigations into the issues faced by local residents.

Mayor Burim Beriha, who is running in hopes of attaining another four-year mandate, has admitted to KALLXO.com that the 2.5 kilometer pipe is not connected from Ujësjellësi.

“Half of the city is connected to the water plant in Shkabaj, while the other half is not. We are waiting for the ministry to place the water pipeline in Shkabaj for the municipality of Fushë Kosovë. There is no problem with that, but both the government and the Ujesjellesi Company are evidently procrastinating, considering that the amount of 600 thousand euros is available for this project,” Berisha told KALLXO.com before the electoral campaign.

When he was asked about the water issue during the #DebatPernime electoral debate, Berisha shortly answered, “it is important that I do have water, and I get from my well”.

When it comes to urban constructions, in the recent years, the municipality of Fushë Kosovë has experienced rapid development. Only in the last four years, this municipality has granted 168 construction licenses, while seven or eight apartments were identified as illegal constructions.

The current LDK governance has “ensured” the lives of others, while is on leave itself. So, the municipality building of Fushe Kosove resides on rented premises, costing where it pays 16 thousand euros a month, which adds up to 192 thousand euros per year.

 

The new municipal building, funded by the European Union in Kosovo, which was launched in November 2011, and has not yet been completed due to the problems arisen with the contractors.

 

The large number of residents who have recently bought flats in the municipality has increased the number of students. Only in the three primary secondary schools “Mihal Grameno,” “Selman Riza,” and “Daut Bogujevci,” the number of students reaches over five thousand, which leads to the schools operating in three shifts.
According to a KALLXO.com investigation, currently in this municipality, it appears that there are three schools that have been started, two of them for six years from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, that are not completed and a school in neighborhood 300, where there are complaints from residents for construction on the basis that it is occupying the public space.

While in the city of Fushë Kosovë there is overcrowding in schools, villages do no operate in the same way. The KALLXO.com team revealed that school in the village of Bardh i Vogel was closed due to the small number of students and the lack of teaching staff.

Recently, the municipality of Fushë Kosovë has not built any new kindergartens, while the school facilities in the villages of Bardh i Madh and Miradi continue to be unused since their construction in previous mandates governed by Burim Berisha.

In the four-year period, the Municipality of Fushë Kosovë has not hired any teaching staff, although based on the number of students, there should be 18 more teachers.
The health sector lacks staff, too. The Municipality of Fushë Kosovë has not hired any individuals anymore. 103 to 104 medical workers who have 150 thousand visits, and 350 thousand services within a year. This, according to municipal representatives, was not done because they were not allowed to announce job vacancies for the new staff from the Ministry of Health.

Although the employment of medical staff is not within the competences of the Municipality of Fushë Kosovë, at least the maintenance of facilities remains their competence. KALLXO.com’s investigation revealed that in the village of Bardhi i Vogel, after the emergency clinic was shut down by the medical staff, the facility was left unattended.

By opening the door of this emergency clinic, which was roped off, the serious condition of the facility and medical equipment became apparent. The stomatology chairs, the beds used for patients, and the sterilizing equipment were damaged in different areas.

Rooms where patients had previously received medical services were left in disarray, with various syringes and needles, including for diazepam, were strewn about on tables and floors.

Despite the poor state of medical infrastructure, the Municipality of Fushë Kosovë has invested in road infrastructure, but has issues with sidewalks in the city. This is especially true in the Dardania neighborhood, including in neighborhoods numbered 028 and 029where the Ashkali, Roma and Egyptian communities reside, as well as villages like Miradi, Henc, Bardh i Vogël, Bardh i Madh, and Lismir.

Although about one thousand families live in social assistance housing, Fushe Kosove is among the few municipalities in Kosovo that has invested in solar lighting.

Waste disposals and sewage

This municipality, located near the capital, has ensured to give away for free to over 10,000 trash bins for its residents in order for them to manage the waste system.

Although this is deemed as a right step by the citizens of Fushë Kosovë, the municipality continues to have issues with illegal landfills.

Speaking to this problem, even the current mayor, Burim Berisha, told KALLXO.com that “we cannot get rid of the illegal landfills issues that we are faced with”.

KALLXO.com’s investigation has highlighted that in the villages of Vragoli, Miradi i Ulët and Miradi i Lartë, including the entrance of the village Kuzmin, there are illegal landfills that go unmanaged by the municipality.

An enormous issue of this municipality remains the treatment of wastewater that drains into the rivers. Prishtine’s sewage streams through the municipality of Fushë Kosove.  Drenas also drains the sewage waste to the Drenica River that runs through Fushë Kosovë. In the current setting, in the rivers of Fushë Kosovë, sewage from Prishtina, Drenas and the municipality itself is discharged, which is then discharged to Sitnica, the most polluted river in Kosovo.

In recent years, the municipality has acknowledged that it has not invested in sewage treatment, except for a memorandum signed with the Austrians and the French, but it may take up to eight years for its implementation.

Deçan’s Poor Road Conditions for Pedestrians and Drivers

What are the duties of the future mayor of the Municipality of Deçan?

There are five candidates running for the position of Mayor of the Deçan Municipality in Kosovo’s upcoming local elections, set to take place on October 22.

The municipality’s 40 thousand residents expect solutions to the problems they are faced with, such as infrastructure and traffic within the city.

Pedestrians certainly expect free spaces on the newly constructed sidewalks so that they can walk freely. Drivers, moreover, need more public parking lots.

Huge responsibilities await the future government regarding solutions to sewage treatment, waste removal, and environment protection from degradation, especially regarding water.

The students of the village of Ratishë remain hopeful to moving to a new school building, and to no longer attend classes in wooden barracks.

These are some of the problems that Deçan residents will demand solutions for over the next local government’s four-year mandate, which has local budget 8 million euros per year. However, half of the budget goes to salaries and daily pays.

On BIRN Kosovo’s mayoral debate series #DebatPernime (#RealDebates), Deçan’s residents were granted the opportunity to be exposed to the promises and governing programs of the five mayoral candidates.

Infrastructure and Urbanization

Because the road that runs through Decan is used to connect Peja to Gjakova, the center of Decan becomes clogged every summer with high volumes of traffic. Citizens must wait in traffic for extended periods of time even to travel one kilometer.

There have been talks of the possibility to construct a new transit road to reduce traffic, but no actions have been taken thus far.

Meanwhile, Deçan needs public parking lots; vehicles parked on sidewalks create problems for residents to walk freely.

Some of the roads that were constructed years ago, such as the streets in the Llukë and Irzniq villages, also require further work and repairs.

None of the 37 villages of this municipality possesses a regulatory plan, though the city has drafted a plan.

In the past four years, the municipality has identified 45 illegal constructions, while only within this year, it has granted seven licenses for construction.

Environment and water

The municipality of Deçan faces an enormous waste problem. Around 30 illegal waste deposits are located within different areas of the municipality.

Three weeks before elections, the municipality began cleaning up its wastes sites.

Garbage is tossed into public spaces in most of Decan’s villages and neighborhoods, and the land remains littered for long periods of time.

 

There were also problems with the workers of the cleaning company “Hygiene,” who several times have striked due to working conditions, and because they did not get paid.

Illegal forest cutting in Deçan’s mountains continues to be an issue, while rivers are contaminated by sewage. Though the city has drinking water, there is a lack of drinking water within the municipality’s villages.

The workings in the Hydro central have caused damage to Deçan’s valley since the beginning of its implementation. The riverbed, which is shrinking day by day, has been considerably damaged.

The water supply network is extended to most of the villages of this municipality, except for three: two villages in Ratisha, and Maznik. For three years, the residents did not receive water bills, and as such, did not pay for water at all. Apart from that, there has been major water misuse. A few villages complain that there is an issue with their water supply network, considering the existing low water pressure and water cuts.

Health and social welfare

The municipality of Deçan lacks an emergency center, causing residents to travel to Peja for emergency health services.

Medical family centers in Isniq, Strellc, Prapaqan, Gramaqel e Ratishë require renovation.

When it comes to patient care, the municipality has failed to purchase a transportation vehicle for patients diagnosed with hemodialysis.

There are 30 families across the municipality of Deçan that have applied for housing, while the municipality has not allocated any social housing yet.

Education

In addition to allegations that Deçan’s education system is politicized, the municipality also has issues with school infrastructure, especially with schools located in the villages of Lumbardhë, Maznik and Ratishë.

In Ratishë, a number of students attend classes in wooden barracks and severely inhumane conditions. These school buildings are damaged, and the students are learning in poor environmental conditions. Even the sports grounds remain poorly equipped.

There are no labs in the schools in the whole municipality, while 16 schools work in two shifts, and only six of them are equipped with physical education halls.

When it comes to children care under the age of six, Deçan has only one kindergarten across the whole municipality in public-private partnership, while the municipality’s needs are much greater.

 

Tourism

One of Deçan’s assets is its beautiful natural environment and the potential to attract tourism investments. However, a large part of the zone where tourism may further develop is managed by the Decani Monastery.

Deçan’s forests are also an asset, but the best forestry has damaged areas, specifically due to cutting and habitat destruction from hydro-centers and river pollution.

The Old Troubles of the New Municipality

What problems will the Mayor of Hani I Elezit confront after October 22?

Two men and one woman have entered the race to take over the governance of a small municipality in eastern Kosovo, which despite the fact that it has separated from Kacanik in administrative senses, still remains dependent on it for providing some essential services in the fields of health and education.

Hani I Elezit, a municipality that has almost 10 thousand residents, is still facing problems of all kind.

This municipality, which was established a decade ago, has on the top of its list of problems the need for a regular supply of drinking water.

Residents of Hani I Elezit also complain about the illegal waste disposals and the sewage odor.

BIRN Kosovo’s mayoral debate series #DebatPernime (#RealDebates) has uncovered the major issues residents face, including an investigation by the KALLXO.com team on the state of the Sitnica River in the middle of Mayor Rufki Suma’s mandate. The River continues to be contaminated by the dumping of waste and the negligence to clean it.

The main Family Medicine center does not have a director and it works under the management of the head-nurse.

In Hani I Elezit, there are neither gynecologists nor dentists, while in order to receive such services, the citizens of this municipality have to travel to Kacanik and Ferizaj.

The bus station for the municipality has remained only a dream, while after several requests for a kindergarten, the mayor decided to find a location to start building it by the end of his mandate, only a few days before the October 22 elections.

In order to have all these problems solved, the municipality of Hani I Elezit has 740 thousand euros for capital investments, while the remaining part of the budget is allocated to wages and salaries.

One of the mayoral candidates for municipality in the upcoming elections a PDK member who in 2014 was sentenced to six months in prison because he was charged with stealing votes.

Clean water, the wish of every citizen of Hani I Elezit

The municipality of Hani I Elezit has had water problems since after the Kosovo War. When Hani I Elezit became a municipality, the citizens wished nothing more than to have the water issue solved, since the water that they had was not useful for anything.

The residents of Hani I Elezit, despite the investments, continue to have problems with the water supply network. Only the city of Hani I Elezit, the New Street, a part of the village Seqishta, and a part of the village Goranca have access to the water supply system.

The city has the water factory in the village of Dimica, which was built with the help of donors. One of the conditions of the agreement was the Regional Water and Canalization Company RWCC (KRUK) “Bifurcation” vowed to manage Hani i Elezit’s water supply system.

This has not happened as of today.

According to KRMU “Bifurcation”, the central level is to be blamed for the mismanagement of water in Hani I Elezit.

The factory in the village Dimica is built as an investment between CDI (Community Development Initiatives) and the municipality of Hani I Elezit, with the cement factory Sharrcem as a partner. The project cost around 450,000 euros, and the factory was launched in 2010. Around 230,000 euros were donated by CDI, 120,000 from the municipality, and 100,000 from Sharrcem.

“Long-term” waste

The village of Dimica remains one of the villages that have become a pit for waste disposals, as no waste has been removed since the middle of the mandate, when our team organized a debate with Mayor Suma. Also, the Lepenc River is still suffering from issues with waste disposals. The sewage in Hani I Elezit contaminates the municipality’s lakes.

The municipality of Hani I Elezit has established local companies for managing waste, and based on their management plans for years 2016-2021, according to Mayor Suma, “they are obliged to eliminate all illegal waste disposals by including the cover of the entire territory for collecting waste from NPL cleaning company”.

The citizens of Hani I Elezit continue to have problems caused by waste since it passes through lakes, causing a strong odor.

The bus station, a dream for the citizens

Hani I Elezit has a regulative plan only in two areas, the center and the park, while it has lack of regulating plans in all villages. There are 1,100 illegal constructions in this city. An investigation by the GAP institute shows that the municipality has problems with parking lots in many areas, while it doesn’t have a space for bus stations.

The Municipality without a Kindergarten

Hani I Elezi does not have kindergartens and the youth can only attend courses in one concentration, which is the general concentration in high schools. The municipality does not have a professional school and the students that are willing to attend a professional high school have to travel to Kacanik. KALLXO.com’s investigation reveals that the schools in Hani I Elezit do not have labs and they also lack spaces for sport activities.

The kindergarten seems to be on its way after numerous requests from citizens.

KALLXO.com reported that by the middle of the mandate, the municipality of Hani I Elezit still did not have a kindergarten.

According to the mayor, there was no location to build the kindergarten. But a few days before ending his mandate, Rufki Suma found a location for the kindergarten and now it is being built.

The Main Center for Family Medicine, three years without a director

The Main Center for Family Medicine (MCFM) in Hani I Elezit functions but it does not have a director. Hani I Elezit does not have a cardiologists, a gynecologists, or a dentist.

The MCFM in Hani I Elezit is still managed by Besiana Bushi-Thaci, the niece of Mayor Rufki Suma.

In order to fulfill their needs for a cardiologist, a gynecologist, or a dentist, the citizens need to travel to Ferizaj.

A small budget and high debt

Hani I Elezit has very few revenues, while the General Auditor has found that the municipality has bailed out 6,500 euros of debts to businesses, which rent spaces from the municipality.

This bailout is contrary to the law, since the law on bailing out debts does not foresee that the municipalities should bail out debts of rent.

Also, the auditor found that the municipality has not punished the businesses that owe the municipality up to 78,000 euros debts.

According to the auditor, the Director of Urbanization has taken an independent act related to debts of tenants. The audit found that the rent debts have been bailed out for 14 tenants of municipality properties worth in total 6,615 euros, based on the law on bailouts. According to the auditor, this law does not foresee the bailout for rents. The bailout for rents without legal basis is contrary to the law and causes financial losses for the municipality.