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15 July, 2024
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Akamas will be scanned by drones to find illegal converstions

Interior Minister reveals measures to tackle unauthorized constructions and protect the environment

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou has outlined the forthcoming measures to address complaints concerning livestock sheds in the protected Akamas area, as reported by Kathimerini newspaper. Speaking on the show "DIAPORA NEWS," Minister Ioannou acknowledged that two complaints were filed in 2020 by the "Friends of Akamas" environmental group regarding alleged illegal constructions. These cases are currently being heard in court.

Regarding a third complaint lodged by the Game Service about an unregistered sub-station, a report is being prepared to conclude the investigation, after which it will be submitted to the court for further action, explained the Minister.

In his efforts to combat these violations, Minister Ioannou has initiated an investigation and, in the coming week, plans to conduct a comprehensive drone inspection of the entire Akamas region to document any additional illegal activities.

Concerning specific cases, Minister Ioannou revealed that in the first instance, the owner claimed it was a legitimate structure, but photographic evidence contradicted this assertion. In the second case, a stone building had been significantly altered and converted into a dwelling, including the addition of fences. Such modifications are deemed illegal, implying that unauthorized construction had taken place.

Addressing another issue, the Minister highlighted the misuse of building permits. While individuals were initially granted permits for 100 square meter agricultural sheds, they subsequently converted these structures into cottages. As a response, the criteria for permits have been revised, with permission now limited to 30 square meters.

Minister Ioannou made it clear that the ministry would not tolerate any fait accompli in the rehabilitation process. However, he emphasized that direct intervention by the ministry is contingent upon judicial proceedings, and implementation of measures would proceed following the court's decisions.

Regarding the matter of Turkish Cypriot (T/C) properties, raised by Mayor Phedonas Phedonos during a session of the Parliamentary Institutional Committee, Minister Ioannou stated that the ministry is committed to ensuring a transparent and meritocratic process for the allocation of properties and residences. This would involve a public tender process and changes to regulations and procedures.

The Minister also acknowledged challenges faced by the department, such as an outdated computer system, a shortage of administrative officers, and pending legislation awaiting approval from the Attorney General's Office. In response to the cases mentioned by Mayor Phedonos, Minister Ioannou expressed the ministry's intention to establish a committee that would conduct an audit to rectify any discrepancies or unfair allocations.

Cyprus  |  Paphos  |  Akamas  |  environment

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