Note : The government will allocate 25 million euros by the end of this year to the Gjoka company for the construction of Rruga e Arbri. In total, the cost of this never-ending road has already exceeded 500 million euros, almost twice the estimated cost of its construction and completion.
Payments for this road did not stop even in 2020 and 2021, when the country was plunged into the pandemic crisis. In these two years, Gjoka benefited from the state budget as direct payments of 6 billion lek, or about 60 million euros at the current exchange rate.
In June 2020, the Minister of Infrastructure, Belinda Balluku, said that the road would be completed in the spring of 2021, although the deadline for its completion was in November of the same year.
The deadline was postponed two more times, first in the spring of 2022 and then in the fall of the same year. The same thing happened this year, while both Prime Minister Edi Rama and Minister Belinda Balluku defended the company, blaming the unstable geological composition that is allegedly delaying the works in the Murrizi Tunnel.
To avoid this tunnel, the company has built a temporary Bypass, which in some cases the flow of vehicles is completely blocked. However, the irresponsibility of the Gjoka company and the institutions that have the authority to control this concession reached its peak this weekend.
Although it was warned that the country would be engulfed by snowfall and a significant drop in temperatures, Gjoka did not put the water on fire to take measures and throw salt on the Bypass of the Murrizi tunnel. This led to the blocking of hundreds of vehicles, which, unable to continue, returned to Tirana on Saturday evening. The same thing continued on Sunday and the road remains blocked again.
The blockage is not the first time it has happened. The same thing happened last winter, as well as in January 2022. In all cases, the company was justified by the bad weather, while Minister Balluku defended it, even signing the additional 20 million euros. in the original contract.
However, more than the geological instability of the ground in the Murrizi Tunnel, the Arbri Road shows the unshakable tenacity of Minister Balluku to defend to the end the concession that has raised strong suspicions of corruption.
Why? Because instead of holding the company that twice violated the deadlines for the completion of the road to account for why it did not take the measures to keep the Bypass open at a time when the deterioration of the weather had been warned, Minister Balluku goes live on the networks its social and calls on citizens not to leave their homes due to the heavy snowstorm.
Images from the field show that the thickness of the snow in this area was not more than 10-20 centimeters, which indicates that the precipitation was only a storm that could not be called. But, after the word storm, the goal of the Deputy Prime Minister was to exonerate the Gjoka company from any responsibility it has for this road.
Therefore, instead of going out to do the weather forecast and acquire the powers of civil emergencies, advising citizens not to leave their homes, it would be better for Belinda Balluku, as Minister of Infrastructure, to exercise her powers and duty, put the Gjoka company in front of the responsibility, not only for blocking the road since the first snow, but also for spending millions of euros that benefited directly from the pockets of Albanian citizens for the construction of this road.
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