NEWS

More than a year after Mati, only 10 demolitions

GIORGOS LIALIOS

TAGS: Fire, Property

More than a year after a disastrous wildfire ravaged the coastal settlement of Mati in eastern Attica, killing more than 100 people, only 10 of the illegally built properties in the area have been demolished.

The Environment Ministry’s program of demolitions for a 35-kilometer stretch of the Athens-Sounio coastal road was completed on Monday with the razing of a structure on forestland in the area of Tratolimano near Sounio.

The previous government had vowed to raze illegal structures along Attica’s coastline and beyond, blaming the spread of the wildfires last year largely on the unchecked construction in the area.

However, due to a combination of bureaucracy and practical problems encountered in the process, only 10 such buildings have been knocked down.

The authorities had sought to accelerate the process by having the ministry oversee the demolitions, which are usually handled by local authorities.

They also announced an international tender for the demolition of between 300 and 400 of the 3,200 illegal structures in Attica forestland and on beaches.

However, various problems cropped up. In several cases, it took the bulldozers much longer than anticipated to clear the area due to excessive construction. In the case of an illegal beach bar in Anavyssos, for instance, it took more than four weeks of work, rather than the few days originally anticipated, as the beach had been covered with several layers of cement.

Bulldozers faced a similar state of affairs at a beach bar in the Mavro Lithari area.

As for the tender, it was canceled after only one company made a bid, which ended up not having the required paperwork.

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