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MPs criticise ministry’s handling of industrial leasing

The Greens' Giorgos Perdikis

MPs on Thursday censured the trade and commerce ministry for allowing a series of leasing blunders in the Strovolos industrial area to end in the felling of around 300 trees.
The issue was discussed by the House watchdog committee following a suggestion from Greens’ MP, Giorgos Perdikis.
According to Perdikis, the ministry announced a tender for the lease of an industrial plot without first evicting the company that had been using it without paying rent for 17 years.
“To avoid possible claim for damages from the new tenant, the government has given them a green area instead,” Perdikis said.
Due to ‘the scandalous failure of the trade and commerce ministry to handle the case’, he said, between 280 and 300 trees and bushes have been destroyed on the new plot of land. These plants, he said, were protected by the forestry department and their permission should have been sought before any intervention.
“Instead of first initiating an eviction procedure and recovering the industrial plot before proceeding with a tender competition, it announced the tender and found itself exposed with the green area paying the price”.
This proves the serious shortcomings of the trade and commerce ministry in managing the industrial areas, Perdikis said.
He also criticised the government’s decision to streamline the management of industrial areas by commissioning the services of a large audit firm as a pre-election move.
The head of the committee, Zacharias Koulias, said that the government bears responsibility for the mess, not the company that won the tender for the lease of the plot.
The government, he said, was unable for 17 years to recover the industrial plot but gave its control to the new tenant and after the old tenant refused to leave, ‘they turned the green plot into an industrial one’. He added that the new tenant, waited for two years to be allowed to move in.
“The company bears no responsibility, it is the state, the current administration that was sloppy,” he said.
Just as the government allowed the haircut on deposits in 2013, Koulias said, they also did a haircut on these trees.

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