A municipality in the north is set to hold a census, breaking ranks with the current ‘government’ policy of calculating populations via projection and avoiding censuses.

The municipality in question is the combined Lapithos, Karavas, and Myrtou municipality, with mayor Firat Ataser announcing the move on Wednesday.

He said the census will involve municipal workers visiting people’s homes in the area.

A comprehensive census will be organised to better understand the population structure in the region and to direct our municipal services in accordance with your demands and needs,” he said.

The planned census contravenes ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel’s insistence last year that the ‘government’ would be able to plan for the future using population projections.

However, many believe the most recent official population estimate made by the north’s statistics institute, revealed in January to be 399,727, to be wildly short of the true figure.

Turkish Cypriot ‘MP’ Serhat Akpinar said he believes the north’s population to be a million, and told the Cyprus Mail the north “must limit and stop” its handing out of ‘citizenships’ to be able to stem its population growth.

Turkish Cypriot Mukhtars’ Association chairman Akay Darbaz concurred with Akpinar’s estimate, describing the growth of the north’s population as “scary”.

At the same time, the north’s communications authority (BTHK) revealed that there are a total of 996,401 registered mobile subscribers in the north.

However, both Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz both insisted that the official estimate of around 400,000 is more or less correct.

We have to accept it,” Oguz added.