The lack of construction discipline over the past ten years has resulted in a waste of funds and the public having to pay money it should not have to pay. This is a major problem because we are building poorly, secondly we have allowed ourselves to build illegally and thirdly the assignments are not what they should be. When the state assigns the wrong jobs, we end up footing the bill. This was said by the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Arch. Ivan Shishkov in the program "The Day Begins" on BNT.
A total of BGN 90 million of European funds is at risk of being withheld or suspended under the Operational Program "Environment" 2014-2020 due to irregularities found at ten water and sanitation companies as a result of an audit of the European funds. Only in 4 out of a total of 21 checked contracts were no problems identified, the minister recalled. The irregularities are related to the method of awarding. There were a certain number of bidders in the auctions, and all but one were eliminated. The check shows that even the participant who remained had the same irregularities as those removed, explained the regional minister.
With the Ministry of Environment and Water, we have made great efforts in the last 7-8 months, as there has been a slow development of construction. There is good progress on all projects and the program will be saved, as we will be able to receive a large part of the European funds, assured Arch. Shishkov. Objects that cannot be completed in this period will be phased into the next.
It is very important how we will invest in the water supply sector in order to have a good water supply network, water quality and a socially affordable price. According to the operational program, it was possible to replace a large part of the water supply network in our country. 14 companies participated in the process. The problems are related to the assignments in the period 2019-2020, he reminded and added that the construction is carried out in the same, similar way. Irregularities discovered in water supply contracts in the period 2019-2021 will be given to the European Prosecutor's Office.
There are many problems with VK Burgas, including the management of the company and the attitude. The regional minister recalled the problems with the treatment plant of the "Yasna Polyana" dam. It is expected that its emergency repairs will begin next week or so, for which the government has provided BGN 23 million. Measures have been taken to save the summer season, he announced. The problem with the water treatment facility, which has not been repaired in the last 20-30 years, is technological and structural, as prevention was not carried out, he explained.
MRRB together with "Bulgarian Waterworks Holding" EAD is trying to change the manager of Burgas Waterworks, but the district court in Burgas does not allow a change of the manager of the company to be registered. In most of the ten audited companies, managers have been replaced, which was a way to make progress on the operational programme.
In order to have a good and high-quality water supply network, a lot of funds are needed, but it is important to make an accurate analysis, on the basis of which good projects can be prepared. The main problem in all construction, in infrastructure investments, is the lack of good projects, good analyzes and assignments. As a result, all the problems happen, stressed Arch. Shishkov.
The minister recalled that within seven months he had approved more than 100 km of new detailed development plans for highways. This is a future perspective of their construction. Yesterday I issued a construction permit for part of the last section of AM "Europa" from Sofia to Slivnitsa. By the end of May, we have provided absolutely everything so that the entire section of the highway from Dragoman to the Kalotina checkpoint can be completed, the regional minister announced.
Regarding the Struma highway, he noted that the office found it completely abandoned. Now, work is being done around the clock to strengthen the landslide before the "Zheleznitsa" tunnel, so that in August traffic can be opened in one lane in the direction of Sofia. The minister recalled that this landslide happened back in 2020, but no one paid attention to it. It was only during the previous official cabinet in the summer of 2021 that urgent measures were taken, which are now already bearing fruit.
Arch. Shishkov also commented on the topic of protests related to the construction of the "Struma" highway through the Kresna Gorge. He explained that no particular option is favored, and with the approved detailed development plan for 200 meters, regarding the completion of the connection from the roundabout in the direction from the Tower to Sofia, nothing is pre-decided.
The problem with the expansion of the "Trakia" highway between Sofia and the "Maritsa" highway should have been raised from the moment of the construction and completion of the "Maritsa" highway. The movement is extremely intense, and the conversation on this topic is even late, pointed out arch. Shishkov added that an assignment must be made first. He explained that it is important to also think about a tunnel under Petrokhan, because at some point there is a risk that AM "Hemus" will also be congested, since two highways will come together in one place. The construction of the "Rila" freeway is also important for traffic relief. The expropriation procedures for the Ruse - Byala section and the bypass of Byala from the "Ruse - Veliko Tarnovo" highway are at the final stage, and a horizon is provided to start construction in September. Within the office, we have given a perspective for the development of highways. Everything works as a general mechanism, and if it is not designed in its entirety, it will not function properly, and there will always be problems in certain places," summarized arch. Shishkov.
The rearrangement of the yellow paving stones in the capital will soon begin. The problem with them is the bad assignment and the bad execution. Thanks to the extension of the project deadline, Sofia will not lose money. The repair, not only of the yellow paving stones, but of the entire center must be completed by September in order to receive the European funds, he added.
Regarding the annulled decision of the Council of Ministers to separate Obzor as a separate municipality, the regional minister informed that the requirement is to have a population of over 6,000 people. Although exceptions are allowed, Obzor would be a municipality with 2,331 people, which would create problems regarding the formation of the municipality and its activities. The smaller a municipality is, the more problems there are with finding staff. He pointed out that in Sofia, for example, there is a shortage of road engineers.