Horvat: Go-ahead for demolition and reconstruction of houses soon to be given

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(Hina) - Construction Minister Darko Horvat said on Thursday that his ministry had not yet resolved any requests for the demolition of a damaged house or post-earthquake reconstruction in Zagreb because organised preparation had taken place first, but decisions would be issued soon.

This has been a time of organised preparations so that we could next week task nearly 60 jurists, ministry employees, with issuing decisions granting right to those whose property sustained damaged, Horvat told a press conference.

In the meantime, the entire legislative framework has been adopted, the procedure has been defined and the Reconstruction Fund has been established. Such a process is similar to the one in Japan, he said.

First, the normal functioning of institutions was ensured, then necessary services, such as schools and hospitals, resumed operation, followed by the infrastructure necessary for the population to return to work.

"Now the fourth process begins -- organised (..) reconstruction not only of Zagreb but also of the four counties surrounding it. Also, funding from the Solidarity Fund has arrived and a total of HRK 5.1 billion has been activated and tenders have been issued," Horvat said.

A very detailed recording  was made of the damage caused by the 28 and 29 December earthquakes and over 900 subsequent earthquakes in several counties. Over HRK 150 million of damage was recorded on cultural heritage alone in Virovitica-Podravina, Varaždin, Međimurje, Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac, Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje counties, he said.

Over 3,350 applications received

Asked how the legal team would handle all the demolition and reconstruction requests, which had been in the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets for three months already, Horvat said that they had changed the regulation on internal organisation and formed a special sector to deal with them.

Based on those decisions the central state office and the Reconstruction Fund will have the opportunity to issue tenders for which documentation is ready and to start an organised reconstruction, he explained.

They have not analysed how many applications have been submitted per a particular county, but a total of slightly over 3,350 have been received to date.

Commenting on the remark that it isn't clear why Zagreb is still waiting for reconstruction, Horvat said that after urgent intervention, the project documentation had to be prepared and contracting would begin when the cost estimate is updated.