Kruščica residents against ‘illegal HPPs’ gathered for a quiet protest in Travnik


„We won’t give our river up!,“ is the message of Thursday’s peaceful protest held by the people Kruščica, village in Central Bosnia Canton, and the representatives of the Coalition for the Protection of BiH Rivers. Citizens gathered in front of the Cantonal institution buildings in the region’s capital to express their disapproval with the construction of mini hydropower plants on Kruščica River. The rally was preceded by a hearing for the Kruščica 2 HPP held on Monday, November 12 in Travnik. The Kruščica 1 HPP shall be discussed next Friday on November 23.

Read the original article: 'Mirno okupljanje protiv nelegalne gradnje mHE na rijeci Kruščici'

Through this assembly, locals together with environmentalists and activists aimed to raise public awareness on the consequences brought about by the construction of said facilities to the environment and to life quality of people living by the river.

”We are expecting the court to consider all circumstances under which the investors obtained all permits, for it clearly did not happen according to the law. We are expecting that the court will abolish the licenses,” stated Tahira Mika Tibold, Kruščica community president.

The Coalition for the Protection of BiH Rivers emphasizes that they gather here to support people from Kruščica in their struggle to secure the very basic human right - an access to drinking water. Villagers of Kruščica lack proper water supply system despite the fact that two larger towns, Vitez and the city of Zenica have been supplied by the river in question for the last 49 years.

According to relevant water act, usage of the river for water supply, sanitation needs and fire protection is superior to other purposes, including the electricity generation, environmentalists point out.

Private investors did not comply with valid procedure when purchasing the necessary permits. According to the spatial plan of the Vitez municipality for the period of 2005-2025, the concerned area has been protected as a Nature Park since the Austro-Hungarian era. However, this spatial plan was amended on March 9, 2016 to enable the construction of said hydropower plants.

People defending the Kruščica River ultimately aim to restore the former protected status of neighbouring area so that future generations can rejoice from its beauty, and to provide the locals with access to drinking water. Their struggle started in August 2017, when the locals prevented the heavy machinery from entering the Kruščica riverbed by blocking the crucial bridge. Despite several police attacks, they remain guarding the road ever since.

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