Government’s Promises for Non-stop Construction of Water Pipeline for Pernik Turn Exaggerated

Dimitar Stoyanov

The government’s promises that construction works for the water pipeline to the western Bulgarian city of Pernik from the village of Malo Buchino would be carried out 24/7 turned out to be exaggerated. A Bivol reporter found that works on the alternative pipeline to supply water to Pernik are being carried out for no more than eight hours a day. Meanwhile, there is a surprise extra for the residents of the nearby village of Golyamo Buchino – they are cut off from the direct road to Pernik, where most of them work.

Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov toured the construction site in the company of a “flock” of pro-government mainstream media reporters. “How did we manage to find blue pipes (the color of the right wing in Bulgaria – editor’s note),” he joked, vowing to “put a red path (the color of the opposition socialist party) above,” after which he called the reporters “turkeys” and mimicked gobbling sounds.

While Borisov was parading with reporters, TV footage was showing people hard at work at the site. After the “turkeys” and their cameras left, things returned to normal. Construction is not carried out 24/7 but within the hours of a normal workday, leaving the people of Golyamo Buchino stranded and facing transport problems created by the government’s emergency impetus.

Residents of Golyamo Buchino warn that they will stage a protest rally and block the Struma highway if the central and local governments do not deal with the crisis caused by the closed direct road to Pernik. Diana Petrova, the organizer of the protest, voiced the complaints of local people – they have to travel much longer to get on the highway to Pernik and have to pay an additional road tax.

Without warning the locals, the authorities had come and had blocked the road to Pernik, where most of the village’s more than 600 residents work. Their children’s kindergartens and schools, as well as their family practitioners, are all in Pernik as well. To get to work or take their children to school, the residents of Golyamo Buchino must drive 60 km, while the village is only 4 km away from the city. Diana Petrova stresses that the villagers are also affected by the water crisis and do not deserve this additional punishment.

The government announced initially that works on the site would be done round the clock, but this is not happening.

“This was claimed by Mr. Boyko Borisov, but the works are carried out for less than eight hours a day here,” says an outraged Petrova. Bivol’s reporter also saw that the equipment was stored at the site and there were no workers there.

The government also promised initially that the construction works will last for one month but the delay is already obvious and no one is giving locals information on a new deadline.

Following a protest on February 9, 2020, the local administration conceded to let the residents of Golyamo Buchino use the road to and from Pernik. This will happen when construction works are not carried out, however, it is yet another proof that the promises by the government and by Boyko Borisov personally for 24/7 efforts to solve the water crisis are not being fulfilled.

The good news is that the blue pipes are of really good quality and are not sewer pipes. They withstand very high pressure, are resistant to mechanical impact and are manufactured by the Spanish company Molecor.

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