The policies and projects the government has carved out has shown the importance that needs to be given to rural communities, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday, during a visit to Troodos to inspect and inaugurate a number of projects.
The president visited at the new Limassol-Saittas road, laid the foundation stone for new centre at the ski resort, Kyperounda hospital and primary school, and the national observatory in Agridia.
His first stop was Kyperounda hospital to inaugurate the A&E department and the tuberculosis clinic.
Anastasiades said that the projects and policies drawn up by the government show how much importance should be given to the mountain communities, the criteria, the incentives, the infrastructure, the road network, everything that will help stop urbanisation and bring about development and progress of once-thriving communities.
“Through the national tourism strategy, through the housing policy, through the incentives given so that our young people remain in their communities, through the effort to create and support local production, I believe that we are entering a new path, in order to respond to what we owe to the pillars of the Cypriot people, our mountain communities,” he said.
Commenting on the national health scheme (Gesy), the president said that now most districts have health centres, but that the most important thing that occurred was the introduction of Gesy, which is meeting and needs to continue to meet the needs of the people.
He added that by more than doubling the health budget, the government has shown interest on the issue, which once was riddled with waiting periods or limited to people with means, causing a burden on the populace.
Speaking at the hospital, Anastasiades also thanked the director, the doctors, the nurses, and paramedic staff.
Expressing thanks to the transport ministry and the public works department for helping complete the project, Anastasiades said that he hoped any pending issues would be resolved soon.
Later, speaking at the primary school in Kyperounda, he added that according to the national strategy to develop mountain communities, a total of 350 developmental actions will be adopted until the end of 2030 with a total budget of more than €525 million, which lay strong foundations for sustainable, long-term development and well-being of mountain communities and primarily their residents.
The president said that projects that include the establishment of sporting resorts, the environmental impact studies on the region, and the creation of the new ski resort, and national observatory, are of strategic importance to the government.
“At the same time, the national ‘Cyprus – Tomorrow Plan’ foresees four projects which will contribute even more significantly to the intended development of the mountain communities,” he said.
The president added that complimentary to their efforts for development are the government’s subsidy policy for housing.
In July 2019, the housing subsidy policies were announced, while in February 2021 more communities were added to the policy.
“So far, more than 900 applications have been approved, which correspond to a financial aid amounting to €32.5 million,” he said.
In the 2023 budget, the president said that additional credit of €20 million was approved for these policies.
Commenting on subsidies given to 119 permanent residents un mountain areas over 600 metres above sea level and another subsidy for working residents in 130 communities, he said that in 2023 the amount for those two subsidies to €7.5 million.
On the road network, the president said that the important projects are that of the road from Limassol to Saitta, Astromeritis-Evrychou, and Nicosia-Palaichori.