Insider / ΚΥΠΕ
The need to find solutions for the unoccupied and unused plots in self-housing settlements to help young couples stressed the members of the Parliamentary Refugee Committee on Tuesday, giving three months to the competent services to return with exact data and solutions on how to dispose of these plots.
The MPs also stressed the need to find a way to help couples secure funding for the construction of a house on these plots as many beneficiaries do not find the resources so they remain unused.
The Committee returned to the issue for the third time, after it was submitted for an ex-officio examination after a suggestion of the Members of Parliament, members of AKEL to the Committee. The Chairman of the Committee, Nikos Kettiros, said during the meeting that the issue is coming back as it was raised by MPs from all parties after receiving complaints during their visits to communities, that the returned plots remain empty even though there is enough demand from beneficiaries. .
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The director of the Turkish Cypriot Property Management Service, George Mattheopoulos, told the Commission that around 170 unoccupied plots were registered in Cyprus, while there are about 500 plots that have been granted but no houses have been erected. He said there was room for divergence in those numbers due to difficulties in gathering information due to the pandemic.
Mr. Mattheopoulos said that they have no information why no houses were erected in the 500 plots that have been given to beneficiaries, stating that some may not have been able to secure the financial resources, or may have decided to live elsewhere without informing the authorities. He added that it is a very difficult and time consuming task to investigate why these plots are empty, raising the question of what happens in cases where couples can not secure resources to build. “Shall we come and get them back?” he asked, adding that the issue was ethical. He also reminded that the concession with the existing data can not be done because the project has been terminated, so, he said, it is a matter of political decision from now on how these plots can be managed.
Mr. Kettiros said that they will return in three months to see what political decisions have been taken on the issue, exactly how many plots are unallocated and what has been done for each case separately.
At the end of the session, he stated in his statements that “today the government's narrative that it is concerned, that it is interested and produces substantial proposals for the housing policy has been refuted”. It has been revealed that there are 170 plots that were given and returned to the state and another 500, not including the plots in the province of Limassol which have been given but have not been used by the beneficiaries, he said. “We are talking about 5,000 people who could be housed if these plots, which have remained unused for years, were used,” he added.
Mr. Kettiros also said that at the moment many young people are trapped in rents of € 700 while the cost of borrowing for housing purposes in Cyprus is much higher than the Eurozone average. Therefore, he added, in addition to programs, meetings and announcements, the government could more easily utilize these approximately 700 plots, as well as the areas located in the refugee settlements.
For some reason, he said, some were unable to secure a loan and these plots were left unused, calling on provincial administrations to contact these people and look into each case to see which ones could be returned.
“It is a matter of political decision how they will be used. “Our concern is to use them in the interest of the refugee world, for the housing of young couples”, said Mr. Kettiros.
DISY MP, Rita Theodorou Superman, said that the concern of the Commission and her party, is the satisfaction of young couples who are eligible and meet the criteria and expect this very important help to be able to be housed.
Zacharias Koulias of DIKO, said that the Commission also requested a funding program because today, with the abolition of the Cooperation, one can not be easily funded. Mr. Koulias called on the state, through the Housing Financing Organization and the Land Development Organization, to offer “a reasonable program” which would provide the young couples with land but also to finance them with a reasonable amount to solve these problems. .
Abolition of group cultivation of T / C land
The Commission also discussed the abolition of mass cultivation of Turkish Cypriot land granted by Kidemonas to eligible refugees in Larnaca, Aradippou and Kosi, following a suggestion by Mr Koulias.
According to a press release of the Parliamentary Committee for Refugees, “the Commission was informed by the Director of Turkish Cypriot Property Management about the decision of the Council of Ministers that for the years 2020 and 2021 the debts of the beneficiaries who owned Turkish Cypriot or Halite land for agricultural purposes are written off.”
Mr. Koulias stated during the meeting that he registered the issue after receiving many complaints from elderly beneficiaries of the group cultivation plan that they did not receive their dividend which is around € 150 per year and learned that the program was cut by the Management Service. Turkish Cypriot Properties. It was suggested to continue this program until 2024, when the three-year agreement expires, and if the Service decides that it will divide this area, which is about 2,000 stairs, in lots, to inform these people so that they can also claim a piece.
Mr. Mattheopoulos stated that this logic of group crops should end, where the Service redistributes income. Gladly, he added, they will see the issue with all the social sensitivity and if these people at the end of the offer are eligible to get a draw, they will be given priority.
Mr. Koulias later said in statements that for this group crop in Larnaca there was a list of eligible refugees, and many families that had been affected by the Turkish invasion.
“Suddenly, they had the idea to stop and confiscate the money, a € 80,000 fund, completely illegal and arbitrary,” he said. He also said that while some farmers were offered to cultivate this area, the Ministry decided to give the rent due to a pandemic.
The Commission's request, he said, is for those who donated the money (of the rent) out of their own pockets and to distribute these € 80,000 directly to the beneficiaries, who are guaranteed under a 1991 law.
Asked about the number of beneficiaries, Mr. Koulias said that there are two group crops, in Kosi and Aradippou and that the Commission requested the list of beneficiaries.