Bosnia/Republika Srpska: Construction of EFT’s HPP “Ulog” on Neretva Suspended, claim from environment NGOs

18. September 2014. / SEE Energy News

Although the erection of the HPP “Ulog” started back in 2010, the works on this project have been suspended almost completely for a long time.The company EFT obtained from the Government of the Republic of Srpska the concession for the construction of the mentioned hydro power plant, and the works on the construction of access roads were started even before obtaining the necessary permits, i.e. finishing land expropriation.

– However, in the meantime, there has not been any move forward from starting the construction of access roads, which should have already been finished three years ago – it has been stressed in the association Green Neretva from Konjic.

They explain that, from the very beginning of works, the investor has been facing big problems with unstable soil within the construction zone, so frequent landslides have made the performance of construction works impossible. The landslides are particularly pronounced in the lower part of the construction site, below the village of Ljusići, where hydro-technical facilities have been envisaged: a tunnel, a surge tank, a pipeline and a mechanical plant (turbines, generators etc.)

– Otherwise, such cases are not rare in the construction of large dams, because investors often do not perform geological exploration works in order to save money and thereby they enter into their own business risk, but they also generate an enormous risk of jeopardizing the environment – it has been stated in this association.

They also explain that, while carrying out the procedure of issuing the environmental permit for this project, the competent ministry of the Government of the Republic of Srpska did not accept numerous objections of non-governmental environmental associations, so they granted the permit to the investor with a series of legislative omissions. They say that the results of such attitude are visible at almost every step of this area.

As it has been stated in this Association, the natural bed of Neretva is buried with the material from the construction site, and environmental damage is immeasurable. Big landslides in Ljusići, caused by the construction works, threaten to cause a huge-scale catastrophe by the collapsing of the hills around Neretva.

– Since the investor and the competent institutions have remained silent on the above stated issue, information can be obtained only from the residents of Ulog who have the courage to speak out on this issue – the members of the association Green Neretva say, also adding that both they and the representatives of the association Terra Dinarica from Sarajevo were able to make sure about these claims personally during their recent visit to this area.

They say that there are only a few employees of the company in charge of testing soil quality (subcontractor) at the site currently, whereat soil is being sampled with the aim of finding better sites for positioning the mentioned technical facilities, which, according to the design solution, have been envisaged for construction less than a hundred meters upstream from the entity line.

– It is indicative that, in this way, significant modifications would be made in the design solution, and according to the unofficial claims of the residents of Ulog, the location of the main dam in Nedavići has already been changed. However, what seems to be the most interesting is the claim that the investor, in case of not finding quality soil for constructing technical facilities – which is very likely – would seek a new location within the municipality of Konjic (FBH) – it has been said in the association Green Neretva.

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