Mayor favors Railways and prolongs the agony of the residents in the Ložionička street

29.10.2016 - Banja Luka

BANJA LUKA/ On 10th August 2016 the Mayor of Banja Luka Slobodan Gavranović brought the Conclusion that the  execution of the Decision prohibiting the storage of bauxite on land twentieth track railway station in Ložionička street, be delayed for 90 days. 

The environmental inspector of the City Administration Banja Luka has issued a Decision to the company "Railways of the Republic of Srpska" ad Doboj (RRS), which prohibits the storage of bauxite ore in Ložionička street, which was preceded by a series of actions that the citizens of this street took, such as notifying numerous times the environmental inspector of violations of the Law on Environmental Protection.

On the Decision of the inspector, RRS appealed to the second instance body, the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of Republic of Srpska, who on the 05/07/2016.  rejected the appeal as unfounded and thus upheld the Decision of the environmental inspector. After that, on the 26.07.2016., an inspection was carried out in order to control the execution of the Decision, and the company RRS was re-notified and informed that the Decision will be enforced on the 08.16.2016. beginning at 10 am. On the 05.08.2016. RRS filed a motion to delay enforcement of the Decision for 90 days, which the Mayor of Banja Luka accepted, explaining that the delay is not against the public interest. Although there is a legal basis for the delay of the enforcement of the Decision, we believe that it is extremely unfair to hold off the execution of the Decision that has received confirmation from the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and the Ecology of Republic of Srpska, and thus leave an environmental problem of this street to the incoming Mayor.

Residents of Ložionička and surrounding streets have launched this case because of the violation of their basic human rights, such as the right to a healthy environment, and it is extremely hypocritical to claim that the delay of execution of the Decision prohibiting the storage of bauxite ore is not contrary to public interest. Not a single permit for this activity exists in the RRS nor the "Bauxite Mines" doo, and still the same thing happens - said Viktor Bjelić from the Aarhus Centre Banja Luka.

The Centre for Environment filed a criminal complaint against the "Bauxite Mine" doo Banja Luka in June 2015, where we indicated RRS as one of related entities in a potential criminal offense and on the basis of which, as far as we know, the inspector questioned only the representative of the Centre which filed this report. We invite District Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka to finally examine the allegations in the criminal complaint, call witnesses to questioning, as well as to examine the role of RRS in the commission of a crime in special relating to the land plot and location conditions where these activities are carried out. As stated in the criminal complaint, there is an obvious connection between "Bauxite Mine" doo and RRS at the expense of citizens and the environment, and therefore we claim that in this case the public interest was ignored.

Although the whole story was started by the residents because of the noise and dust, in recent years they have come to a variety of information that indicate unjust and criminal actions of the participants in the business of bauxite.

The Mayor received us at his office at a meeting on 27.04.2016. and offered his support in resolving this issue, arguing that such activity should not take place within the City, and made a proposal to relocate activities from this location. It is shameful that after a Decision on prohibition of storage bauxite ore from the environmental inspector of the City Administration Banja Luka, Mayor brought this Conclusion by which the agony of our residents is extended for another three months and the "hot potato" is transferred to the new Mayor. We were hoping that this is the end of the problem of environmental pollution in the City of Banja Luka, for example Ložionička and surrounding streets, believing in institutions of the City and State Government, but we are deeply disappointed and angry by the last move of the first man of the City – stated the  residents of Ložionička and surrounding streets in the hope that the new Mayor will have more understanding for their rights and support the work of the inspector, whose Decision shall enter into force on 10.11.2016.

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