A proposal to extend current sea sport permits until October 2024 came before the House interior committee on Thursday amid a protracted row on the issue in Paralimni that has pitted the mayor against permit-holders.

The bill to extend the current permits until 2024 and for new tenders to be launched by the end of 2023, was submitted by MPs Kyriakos Hadjiyiannis of Disy and Costis Efstathiou of Edek.

Speaking after the meeting, committee president Aristos Damianou said the initiative was good, given the delay and potential irregularities in some coastal municipalities.

He noted that the committee had received a letter from Paralimni Municipality informing MPS of developments as regards the awarding of contracts. The committee agreed that these issues should be resolved with an amendment of the legislative framework.

The committee had decided however that for the time being, it would not move ahead with the proposal but would underline to the ministry and the central committee on beaches the need to press ahead with changes in the legislation as a matter or urgency. MPs could in the next few weeks revisit the issue to decide what role it would play in the whole procedure.

Damianou expressed concern about the turn of events again this year, noting that this was a difficult economic period with Cyprus experiencing lower tourist arrivals which had inevitable repercussions on the living standards of those involved.

Greens MP Alexandra Attalides called on the state to ratify and implement the Convention of Barcelona so as to properly protect beaches.

Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pyrillis has been locked in a dispute with some water sport concession holders. Last February, the Famagusta district court had thrown out a case brought by water sports providers in Paralimni who challenged a tender process launched by the municipality.

They want tenders to require five-year experience, but the court and the attorney-general said such a provision was contrary to legislation and the EU acquis.