We do not allow the construction of Mini Electric Power Stations , including any disturbing of natural mountain waterways, as well as any activities which harm nature not only for a term of 15 years, but permanently.
Concerning the announcement that mini electric power installaions (MEHPI)shall be canceled from the Spatilam Plan for the City of Pirot, with a term of 15 years, we have a need as veterans stuggling for the rivers in the past 50 years, express our opinion. Although we are pleased that the construction of mini hydro elelctric installations have beeen deleted from the Spatila Plan for the Municipality of Pirot, thus confessing that our decades of struggle against the MEHPI , during which we were even forced to physically oppose the construction in the field, to announce a state of emergency and organize solidarity sentries and barricades on the roads that lead to our villages, was correct and that during our activities we have not breached our official laws, but protected the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia (Articles 74, 89 and 97), we state that such a move by the officials is only the first step to the final solution to the question of nature protection on Stara Planina and our entire country.
First, we wish to dispute the wrong information as announced by the Serbian Public Broadcasting Service, Radio and Television (RTS) as well as in many other public media that our struggle dates only for the last three years. Inhabitants from villages in the river basin of the Temščica River have been struggling for the protection of their river and nature for the last 50 years. Concomitant with this, we opened an Informative-Documentary Centre and the Museum for the Protection of Stara Planina Rivers in the gallery of the local Temska Community Centre, so as the interested researchers and public could have access and research documents and material from media appearing during the last half a century of struggle. The history of this struggle one may be read in the text „From Temska to the Association of the Local Communities from Stara Planina“ https://nadlanu.com/543816/istorijat-borbe-za-reke-stare-planine-od-temske-do-saveza-mesnih-zajednica-stare-planine-pola-veka-borbe/?fbclid=IwAR3VnQgrxJRBLi-ViOrXXh62IwNBZ0_esdGhMJDeDYTRs-ZL4sSB7vdLQKw.
We invite journalists and the interested public to get informed with the half of centrury genesis of the struggle by the mounatin folk from Stara Plaina, ie. on the basis of documents in our posession, minutes from the local Parliament of Pirot and researching of newspaper articles, originating from the 70s of the previous century, as not to disperse lies that our struggle lasted only for the last three years. As we have, defending the rivers for the last 50 years, sacrificed our peace, we were forced to suffer unjustice much pressure and blackmailing, now to be exposed to false media reports.
With the struggle of our ancestors, with the blessings of father Rajko and nuns from the monastery “Saint George” and full support of the International Scientific Conference “Stara Planina Eco-Ethno Park” all attacks on the Toplodol River have been defended which started with the initial construction of the hydroelectric dam on the Zavoj Lake during the beggining of the 70s of the previous century. Veterans during this struggle were the inhabitants of the village Temska and surrounnding villages, with the support of Academician Radivoj Mančić , Dušan Mitić B.Sc.Engr. and many others. Thanks to new aspects of communication and public networks, our struggle becomes more visible and known to the wider public.
After the attack on the Toplodol River, during the 90s of the previous century, the similar destructive initiatives for MHEPI started, as a source for “Green Energy” , although our country has not harnessed not a bit of possibilities for the utilization of solar and geothermal energy, the only energies we endlessly lose.
We stress that just according to the initiative and continuous pressure on the Government from the side of our members and members of Parliament, including endless physical struggles in the field, resulted in the withdrawl of the plans for MHEPI from the Spatial Plan for Pirot , Knjaževac and Dimitrovgrad, all Municipialities from Stara Planina. .As activitists, however, with years of experience concerning the inconsiscence with laws and disrespect of the Archus Convention (ratified and signed by the Serbian Parliament) which guarantees the participation of the local population concerning the environment, we have a moral obligation to raise our voice.
We remind that the idea of diverting the Toplodol River is activated evry time the Government of Serbia changes, in spite of the decision on the protection of this river in 2004 and the Decleration of the permanent protection of the Toplodol River from 2007 and signed by the initiative of Dušan Mitić and signed by all political parties in the Parliament of the Municipality of Pirot. We do not expect it to be different with the construction of MHEPI.
Our members and professionals exposed undeniable scientific proof that there is no economic excuse for the construction of MHEPI , but there are irreversible devastating consequences to biodevirsety. We point to the fact that such projects were never stopped and that we are sure they shall continue in the future. Capital political decisions were made harming the rural population , aiming at permanently displacing it from these regions in order to further exploit the natural resources.
We ask the Municipality of Pirot, why the MHEPI have been obliterated from the Spatial Plan for a term of 15 years? We fear that the Government of the Municipality of Pirot, expects that there won’t bee any inhabitants by this time to protect the rivers.
We publicly raise our voiceand request that the Municipality of Pirot and other Municipalities in the realm of Stara Planina and all of Serbia, urgently start applying the Archus Convention and start respecting the citizens of Stara Planina and our entire country.
• We do not allow the construction of MHEPI including no other disturbance of natural mountain waterways as well as all other activities harmful to nature, not only for a term of 15 years, but permanently.
• We do not stop only at further constructions, but request the immediate remedation activities in order to salvage the damage already done and that a committee is formed whose members have shown to be uncompromised fighters for the protection of nature during their entire life
• We request the immediate end to lumbering activities in the forests during Spring and Summer, especially considering the period of bird nesting, upbringing of other young animals and the especially ground flora growing during this period. During the year-round tree felling , biodiversity is destroyed (the biodiversity on Stara Planina is known world-wide) , many laws being violated during forestry activities.
• We request that all Municipalities in the region of Stara Planina and from our entire country turn to sustainable tourism and instead of suicidal projects including megalomaniac hotel resorts on mountain summits, destroying protected and threatened species and directly polluting mountain rivers, enable infrastructures in villages, thus enabling the locals to offer their produces to tourists , thus supporting their stay and survival in the local villages. For good reasons, nowhere in the World are hotels built on mountain summits. We request immediate subsidies for organic and permaculture food production.
• We request for the immediate application of the Archus Convention which has been ratified and signed by our country.
Tomislav Panić, President of Local Community „Temska“
Milan Đorđević, President of Governing Body of “Association Temska”
Dušan Mitić, Bsc..Engr.
Nebojša Ilić –Ćama, President of “Association of Local Communities of Stara Planina”
Vojkan Stanković, Member of local Parliament, Municipality of Knja ževac
Academician Radivoje Mančić
Dr. Miroslav Demajo, PhD, Biology Full Research Professor
Marko Šćiban, M.Sc. Biology
Bogdan Ranđelović, Coordinator of Scientific and Research Camp “Temska” and Representative of “Scientific and Research Society of Biology and Ecology Studnets Josif Pančić “
Rasto Marković and Milica Radaković, Representatives of “Societz for Young Researchers Branislav Bukurov”
Dragana Božinović, Author of Project “Museum for the Protection of the Stara Planina Rivers”