Forest of Hope: Planting trees in Zhulat instead of HPPs

April 2, 2021, Zhulat, Gjirokastra. Today in the village of Zhulat in Gjirokastra, EcoAlbania planted 25 linden trees as part of the “Forest of Hope” initiative in the Vjosa Valley: an initiative undertaken for the reforestation of the Vjosa Valley. At the request of the community of the area and as a form of support the communities that are opposing the HPP projects in the Vjosa valley, this initiative comes exactly in the village of Zhulat.

Residents of Zhulat have risen up against the Taronina hydropower plant which affects the two tributaries of the Kardhiq River – protected area – Strict Nature Reserve and are concerned about the situation, unanimously against the construction of the HPP.

EcoAlbania has previously held a meeting with the local community of Zhulat where it offered its support in opposing HPPs on the Kardhiqi River. 

About the hydro-power projects in Kardhiqi river:

On the Kardhiq River basin are planned 8 HPPs. Yet only two of them are close to concretization. “HEC Taronina” is one of them, the trace of which directly affects the roots of Zhulit and Zhulatit, near the village of Zhulat. The company “Taronina Hydropower” is authorized by the order of MI E d a of 15.01.2019 to develop the project HEC Taronina. It took the company almost 1 year until February 2020 to appear on the ground to introduce the project to the locals. The consultation process could not be carried out as the company has encountered the most recent uprisings and revolts of Zhulat’s residents, who have been organized in protests and petitions addressed to the  elevant institutions.

Local residents have received guarantees from the Municipality of Gjirokastra not to build HEC it however, about a year later, in February 2021, the company has reappeared in the area by starting field works for the diversion canal, without applying for permit and misinforming the community by claiming it was building a water supply for irrigation of agricultural lands. Even this effort has met with opposition of residents forcing the company to remove construction machinery from the area.