Life in Drenas

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Two-and-a-half years since promises were made in Drenas, opposition politicians and civil society said on the show “Life in Kosovo” that only 50 percent of the promised projects have been implemented — and those that have are of low quality.

Rifat Bilalli of the Democratic League of Dardania said during a debate broadcast on Radio Television of Kosovo that “the roads, pipe systems, and water supply systems that have been built are of extremely low quality.”

“The pipes have only been ‘buried,’ while they barely function,” Bilall said.

According to the opposition, the most grandiose promise made by Drenas Mayor Nexhat Demaku- to build an industrial center- has remained simply a pre-election promise.

“The Industrial Business Center in front of the Business Park has not yet been started… the deadlines which mayor Demaku talked about have failed; they passed long ago,” said Petrit Bajraktari from Vetevendosje.

Bekim Dobra, a Koha Ditore journalist who is from Drenas, said that this major project hasn’t started yet, even though the mayor promised that it would be built within the two years following the election.

Mayor Demaku, meanwhile, said the municipality has done a lot to repair infrastructure, such as roads, sewage systems and water supply systems.

During the show, Demaku was praised for building the central square in Drenas, the Ali Bajraktari school and public housing.
The team of observers from BIRN and the GAP Institute also found that Demaku fulfilled some campaign promises, including the construction of the Fehmi Lladrovci high school, the renovation of the local emergency room and the establishment of subsidies for farmers.

But others haven’t been fulfilled, including repairing the Drenas riverbed, improving the safety conditions at the aging Arllati school, and minimal repair done to the roads of the Shtutice and Cikatove villages.

Another problem that was raised during the debate was the transportation of students in vans to schools in the Arllat and Llapushnik villages. The transport was arranged by the municipality, however a commission has determined that student safety is threatened because the vans are overloaded with students, and have at times been driven by individuals under the age of 18.

Mayor Demaku was not able to justify the decision to again award the tender to a company owned by the brothers Thaci and managed by the municipal advisor, Elmi Thaci, despite the complaints.

Another promise of Mayor Demaku during the 2009 campaign was the repair of the sewage treatment plant. The opposition and civil society groups said the project hasn’t been fully implemented, despite some progress.

Demaku said work has started on the plant in Korretice, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce. “But it hasn’t been fully implemented because of opposition by some residents,” he explained.

Drenas residents that participated in the debate asked the mayor about issues including road infrastructure, sewage systems and the water supply system in their villages. Demaku said the budget of the municipality is around 9.4 million euros, which is smaller than some other municipalities with less territory and fewer residents.