Picar, 28 June 2020. Representatives of EcoAlbania, invited by the residents of Picar village, organized a meeting to discuss about the hydropower plant that is planned to be built in this village, as well as the possibilities to oppose this project. Based on its experience with the Vjosa Valley protection campaign, EcoAlbania aims to support the affected communities by hydropower projects by informing and motivating residents to continue the ongoing battle for river protection.
The hydropower plant in Picar affects 2 tributaries of the Bënçë River, using waters of the Nivica stream and Gurra stream that are part of the Vjosa river basin. The residents of the two villages, Picar and Humelica, will be directly affected by this project, as they both use the river for agricultural purposes, for livestock, drinking water, etc. About 500 ha of land is expected to be left without irrigation from the construction of this hydropower plant. The hydropower plant on the Gurra River will not only destroy the lands, but will also affect the area’s economy, impoverishing the villagers.
Residents say that the construction company has held individual private meetings with a small number of residents, no public meetings and without the presence of the local government representatives. “We have no information about the project and we do not know what to do,” said one of the residents. Residents have signed a petition with about 600 signatures opposing the construction of the hydropower plant. This hydropower plant affects not only these two villages, Picar and Humelica, but also the valley near it.
Olsi Nika, Executive Director of EcoAlbania informed the residents about the application and approval process to give the construction permission for hydropower plants and all actors involved in this process. What he suggested to the residents was their legal resistance to make possible cancellation of the concession contract for HPP project HYDROTEC 2.