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Restoration plans already underway at Rizokarpaso school

The high school in Rizokarpaso

The government has approved a budget for restorations at the Rizokarpaso school buildings while a futsal court is to be constructed for the enclaved Greek Cypriot pupils, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou told MPs on Tuesday.

Photiou also told the House committee on refugees that by the end of the year a proposal will be tabled in Cabinet for restoring houses in the area that do not belong to enclaved to prevent the Turkish Cypriot authorities from taking them.

“If we abandon them there is a risk that the authorities of the occupation regime will take them,” said Photiou, who was briefing MPs on the state support measures to the enclaved.

He also said that Cabinet has approved around €100,000 for repairs and improvement works at the school buildings, which have already begun. The commissioner also said that, with the financial support of the Cyprus Sports Organisation and the government, the construction of a futsal court would begin.

“We want to give our pupils there the opportunity to have extracurricular activities so that they can have equal opportunities with children in the free areas,” he added.

There are now 40 pupils in Rizokarpaso: 15 in high school, 15 in primary school and 10 students in kindergarten and pre-primary.

“It’s a good number, I would say but we want to keep those numbers and we need to support the young couples both of our enclaved and those who resettled there,” he said.

Photiou also referred to the new support schemes for young couples recently approved by the cabinet which, he said, would encourage more young couples to resettle in enclaved villages.

“We want, in this way, to give life to our villages to further strengthen our schools in Rizokarpaso,” he said.

As regards Covid booster shots for the enclaved, Photiou said they are due to be taken there in the coming days. He said the vaccination of the enclaved with the first two doses has been completed.

According to Photiou the government is also reviewing support schemes for Greek Cypriot farmers in the area.

The committee also discussed the problems faced by people who were left disabled during the 1974 invasion.

Committee chair Akel MP Nicos Kettiros said that they gave the labour ministry 15 days to present, in consultation with the finance ministry, a proposal for raising the allowance given to these people. He said the needs of these people have increased and the committee had in the past called on the labour ministry to review the need for the allowance to be raised by 22 per cent, but the government had said this was too high.

President of the organisation for the rehabilitation of the war disabled, Giorgos Groutides, said they feel they areuthane being ignored by the government. He said the government did not even declare to the EU it has war victims and that there is no excuse for the state not to have a social policy for veterans and people left disabled due to war which is what the rest of the EU countries are doing.

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