Task force to expedite demolition

A special interministerial committee will be set up to supervise the process of knocking down illegal buildings in Eastern Attica following last week’s controversial demolition efforts, the government decided yesterday. In a telephone conversation, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou agreed to set up a task force comprising officials from the Public Works and Finance ministries, as well as the Attica regional authority and the Eastern Attica prefecture – where the problem of illegal construction, mostly involving seaside holiday homes, is most acute. The committee’s aim will be to speed up the process of issuing irrevocable demolition orders, while at the same time finding out why such decisions are not being carried out, whenever that is the case. It will also undertake to clarify the complex issue of how far inland the coastal area, where building is forbidden, extends. On Sunday, a Finance Ministry official committed suicide after coming to the forefront of a controversy regarding delays in the demolition of parts of illegal seaside villas in Attica.