By Bejay Browne
PROTESTORS opposed to the expropriation of land at Timi close to Paphos airport will block the main road in a bid to prevent extension work from starting on Monday.
Timi community board secretary, Giota Filipou, told the Cyprus Mail that close to one hundred farmers working the land would lose their only source of income, and as most aren’t land owners, they wouldn’t receive compensation.
“The community board has decided to demonstrate on Monday at 8 am to try to stop the work and to start discussions with the relevant ministers to see if we can stop the extension,” she said.
Filipou said that the area of land which has been expropriated is vast and although local authorities have been informed it would be used to extend Paphos International airport, the land is in front of the army airport which is close by.
“These farmers won’t have any land to work from now on. Many people who were working in hotels lost their jobs due to the crisis and have turned back to working in the agricultural sector. This will be a financial disaster for them.”
Filipou added that she was informed that the swathe of land was included as an allocated concession in an agreement made between the government and Hermes when the airport was privatised.
In 2006 Hermes took over the private management of Paphos airport and all of the surrounding land linked with it, which had previously belonged to the state as part of the public airport.
The community board secretary added that they had been informed on November 7 last year that Hermes planned to upgrade security and development of the airport. Notification was also published on November 7, 2014 by the expropriating authority – the government – in the official government newspaper. They also announced that necessary work at the plots mentioned will commence on Monday, February 9, 2015.
Although the land in question was part of the area previously earmarked for the state run airport and then part of the privatisation agreement, this is the first time any expansion work has been undertaken in the area.
“Most of the owners of this land are Turkish Cypriots, but the land is worked by Greek Cypriot refugees. This means they won’t have any financial compensation nor any land to work on. This will have a devastating impact on our community.”
Timi has around 2,000 residents and most are working in the agricultural sector. Filipou said that the land affected is currently used to grow beans, potatoes, peanuts and all sorts of fruit trees.
Hermes airports declined to comment on the issue.