Will Tara survive the highway construction?


One year after the issue of the environmental impact of the construction of the Bar-Boljare highway (priority section Smokovac-Mateševo) was internationalized through the campaign of the local civil sector, there is still no precise answer to the question – Will Tara survive the highway construction?

In part of construction of the subsection along the Tara River to Mateševo loop, the riverbed is still completely devastated, while warnings from local and international public have yielded very little results so far. Main contractor – China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), in cooperation with domestic subcontractors, continues to unimpededly devastate the environment, while there is undue and inefficient inspection by state authorities. Over the past year, the European Parliament, the European Commission and UNESCO have repeatedly warned the Government of Montenegro of what is happening at the highway construction sites along the Tara River, and in each comment confirmed that it is undoubtedly about devastation of the river that is under international protection. Inspection of environmental protection and implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Study is still largely inefficient and does not prevent contractors from continuing the devastation. The practice of withholding the results of such inspection have continued, records and prescribed measures are still being declared as classified documents. No information is available on the fines imposed and charged for the devastation.

Other competent institutions in possession of relevant public documents, in addition to numerous pre-concealed funding data for this project, also withhold environmental data, which is contrary to international instruments ratified by Montenegro. When it comes to determining responsibility, there is still not enough political willingness to at least examine the key facts and actors of this years-long devastation of protected natural asset such as the Tara River. Control hearings before the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Agriculture, Ecology and Spatial Planning have so far failed to produce any results, and there was also no willingness to hold the Ministers of Transport and Sustainable Development accountable.

In addition, the criminal charges filed by the civil sector have still not been seriously investigated, and the previous dealing of the competent Prosecutor’s Office with this issue does not encourage us to believe that the institution could soon be expected to protect public interest to end the devastation of Tara. Unfortunately, the Prosecutor’s Office sends the same message to the Government of Montenegro and its partners in the construction of the highway, which, we believe, is one of the key reasons why the devastation of the Tara River has not stopped.

Complete case study download HERE (PDF)

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