Astir Residents Protest Today’s Deadline to Vacate Their Homes

Today, residents of Astir have once again begun protesting against the demolition of their homes, after being notified by the National Territory Protection Inspectorate (IKMT) that Monday is the deadline to vacate their residences. Their homes are scheduled to be demolished as part of the controversial Tirana Outer Ring project.

Residents claim that they have only been notified verbally, instead of receiving an official written order as is legally mandated. They declared that they will maintain their more than one year old resistance to IKMT’s order to vacate, and will continue to resist anyone who attempts to demolish their property.

Residents also stressed that no one has been held responsible following the revelation that the government tender for the construction of the Tirana Outer Ring project had been awarded to a shell company, Dunwell Haberman. This company was found to have forged documents used in its incorporation, making its tender application void.

Former Democratic Party MP Klevis Balliu was also present at the protest. As an early supporter of the resident’s cause, Balliu declared that the PD would extend its unlimited support to the residents, claiming that, once they come to power, those responsible would be brought to justice.

In 2018, companies Biba X and DH Albania won the bid for the government tender to reconstruct the roundabout. They began by demolishing the road infrastructure, which worsened traffic. Once DH Albania was found to have submitted forged documents in order to win the tenders, the project was halted.

Shortly after the falsification was revealed, the municipality reopened bids for the tender, however no winner was announced with the justification given that contestants failed to meet the criteria.

The Tirana municipality ultimately proposed an alternative project, that in turn required another tender. As per the new plan, the roundabout is to be transformed into an underpass intersection. The new, €14.5 million, tender has been won by companies Salillari and Bajrami N shpk.