Agreement signed to build Belgrade metro despite warnings


Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali said on Friday that the construction of the Belgrade Metro would begin this year despite warnings that the wetlands where the metro line is planned to start should not be tampered with.

The construction of the first metro line will start by the end of the year, Mali said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Belgrade Metro and Train, Alstom, Aegis and Power China which defines the obligations of everyone involved in the 4.4 billion Euro project. “This is a step closer to the decades old dream,” the minister said.

He said that construction of a train depot would start at Makisko Polje, a wetlands area which is a major source of drinking water for the Serbian capital.

Hydrogeologist Branislav Bozovic, a former Belgrade city official in charge of environmental protection, said that the signing of the agreement with the French and Chinese companies to build the metro is a crime against the population and warned that the city could be left without water. “The construction of the metro at Makisko Polje will permanently pollute the only source of underground waters that Belgrade has… In normal countries, water sources are fenced off for kilometers to keep the waters pure,” he said, adding that the construction of the metro depot and 4.5 million square meters of housing and offices means that Belgrade will lose Makisko Polje.

Bozovic said that the city authorities are not heeding the warnings from hydrogeology experts who warned that any construction near a source of water brings catastrophic consequences which can’t be solved by building a water purification plant.