Measures to smoothe reactions against HP power plant Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos yesterday announced measures designed to soften reactions against the proposed construction of a natural-gas-fueled power plant by State-controlled Hellenic Petroleum (HP) in Thessaloniki. Residents of four municipalities in proximity to the city’s industrial area – Kordelio, Echedoros, Menemeni and Evosmos – have feared adverse environmental effects from the operation of the 390 MW, 250-million-euro plant, for which construction was scheduled to begin this fall. Tsochadzopoulos said the measures included an air quality monitoring station, the funding by HP of a safety control study and the inclusion of a municipal representative on the plant’s board of directors. He also pledged that priority will be given to locals in hirings. Municipalities will also receive annual compensation of 250,000 euros each. FYROM’s second mobile network expected to be launched in May OTE Telecom’s mobile subsidiary in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), MTS, and the country’s fixed-line services company, Mak Tel, yesterday signed a deal interconnecting their networks and opening the way for MTS’s expected launch of operations in May. MTS, for which OTE received a license in 2001, will be the second mobile operator in FYROM. Mak Tel, which is majority-owned by Hungary’s Matav, already runs the Mobi Mak mobile network. Railway projects. The tender for the contract for the construction of a double-track railway, connecting Corinth and Patras and costing 659.7 million euros, will be called in 2004, the Transport Ministry said. The tender for the project will be called after the feasibility and engineering studies are completed in 2004. The renovation of the Diakopto-Kalavryta railway, also in the Peloponnese and budgeted at 7.9 million euros, is close to completion. A project for the reinforcement of the bridges on this railway, costing 14.7 million euros, is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2004. Farm deal Cyprus’s Renos Hadziioannou farms will invest 1.5 million euros in the establishment of a subsidiary in Greece, it was reported on Monday. The company will hold a 70 percent stake in the newly established firm. Ioannis Stefanidis, owner of a poultry and bird-rearing company on the island of Evia, will hold the remainder. Renos Hadziioannou will also buy an animal feed plant through the subsidiary in Thessaloniki’s industrial zone for 1.2 million euros. Water management The government on Monday announced the winners of three of four tenders for studies on the management of water resources, designed to improve utilization. The winning consortiums are led by Enveco, G. Karavokyris & Partners and TEM, and will prepare studies for the Peloponnese, mainland Greece and the Aegean Islands, respectively. The announcement of the winner of a study on Macedonia and Thrace is pending. The projects have a combined budget of 6.4 million euros. Subsidies The government has earmarked subsidies of 16.5 million euros to boost agricultural exports through improvement in production methods, Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys said. Candidates will have to submit applications by May 12.