Yesterday the 'Top Story' program by the TV channel Top Channel dedicated a service to the Valbona river, and to the massacre that the latter is undergoing due to the non-standard construction of hydroelectric power plants.
Top Story: the Valbona river massacre
From the 2012 to today, 183 concession contracts have been signed for the construction of 524 total hydroelectric power plants. Against the construction of these plants, the UN also expressed itself in February this year, stating that in this way Albania was not respecting international agreements for environmental protection.
The course of the river has been modified and inserted in some pipes of the construction company Dragobia Energy. Work in this protected area has also negatively affected the many tourists who go to Valbona:
"It is a wonderful river, which reminds us of our Switzerland for the mountains and valleys. It is not possible that we are building here. " - states a couple of Swiss tourists.
As if that were not enough, a dam will also be built that will form a sort of artificial pond that will be used as an energy supply by the company. The work of the first two plants continued throughout the summer despite the decision of the administrative court of Tirana - dated 6 June - to interrupt the works.
Furthermore, the national agency of protected areas, which should protect an area like that of Valbona, has acted in the opposite way: in fact, it has given Dragobia Energy a portion of the park's territory in concession to the paltry figure of about 550 € per month (70.000 lek).
A key point for issuing the building permit was the discussion with local residents, who accuse the company of having created false documentation given that none of them was in favor of the construction of hydro-central plants. In particular, some residents denounce the fact that some signatures that result in the documentation belong to people who died before the creation of the public document (2013).
The other power plants project
These first three hydrocentrals are, unfortunately, only the first part of the massacre that the area of the Valbona river will undergo. Another concession approved by the Berisha government (dated August 2013), in fact, provides for the construction of other 12 hydroelectric power plants by the Valbona Project Company.
The doubts that come - looking at the official documentation - is that behind this company there is again Dragobia Energy (Gener 2), given that both companies have the same address and the same accounting company.
The first negative consequences of the construction of the plants are already evident: the number of tourists this year - as local residents claim that they have turned their houses into guest houses - has drastically fallen.
This is the situation of the Valbona national park, where private companies are building hydroelectric power stations without permission, creating conflicts between local residents by falsifying their signatures, damaging tourism and destroying nature.
"Vrasja and Valbonës" - Një investigim për ndërtimin and HEC-eve
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