TV Show “Ecological Hour”: Residents of Krivelj and Oštrelj Seek Fair Terms and Market Prices for Their Property (VIDEO)

Due to the expansion of mining in the vicinity of Bor, some villages and parts of the city of Bor are expected to be relocated. However, the conditions and terms for this were discussed in the “Ecological Hour” show, where Dalibor Stanković, a member of the Council of Krivelj Local Community, and Dragoslav Stančulović, the president of Oštrelj Local Community, were guests. The “Ecological Hour” show is part of the “Environmental Response in Timočka Krajina” project, co-financed by the EU and implemented by the Association “Za Drinking Fountains” in collaboration with partner organizations from Bor and Zaječar.

This is already the third or fourth relocation for some residents of Krivelj, as the Veliki Krivelj and Cerovo mines, along with the quarry, continue to expand rapidly, especially with the arrival of the Chinese company “Zijin.” While it is certain that the relocation of Krivelj residents is inevitable, for the residents of Oštrelja, relocation remains a significant unknown.

Dalibor Stanković mentioned in the show that the villagers’ decision on the relocation of the entire village happened in 2015 due to the increasing impacts of mining on people and structures. With the sale of RTB to the Chinese partner, these ecological and existential issues are exacerbated, and preparations for relocation began in 2021 and 2022.

In the meantime, many have sold their properties at low prices and settled far from mining activities. Those who stayed have been fighting for the relocation of the village to a new location without mining activities, as well as for the purchase of property at market prices. The Republic of Serbia has initiated the development of a spatial plan, and the city has designated a location for relocation and started planning documentation. All previous negotiations are outlined in the Program Foundations for the purchase of property and relocation of the Krivelj settlement, a document representing the first step toward a final solution for the Krivelj residents’ problems.

Dragoslav Stančulović from Oštrelj mentioned that officially, there hasn’t been any mention that Oštrelj also needs to relocate. However, a significant number of residents have already sold their properties to the Chinese company. He stated that discussions have taken place in the last two years, including representatives from the mining company, state, and city leadership, but relocation has not been officially mentioned. This has triggered property sales, especially for those who own property in Oštrelj but practically do not live there. Stančulović believes that a psychological propaganda has been introduced in Oštrelj, creating an atmosphere resembling coercion by representatives of “Zijin,” as selling the property implies selling the house and land. The location for relocation has not been determined, and the need for relocation has not been officially communicated.

Dalibor Stanković stated that complete relocation would be the best solution for both Krivelj and Oštrelj residents. He emphasized that it is a significant stress, as his family has already moved twice, but it is a better option for someone to move and live where there are suitable living conditions in an honest and fair manner.

Dragoslav agreed that this would be the best solution, but not in the coercive manner currently presented. He added that collective relocation probably will not happen, as more than half of the households have already been sold.

About 100 households in Krivelj have already been sold, but Dalibor explained that the company is currently acquiring property at the market price set by the Tax Administration in 2019. This is certainly two to two and a half times lower than the current price. He advised his fellow citizens not to sell, despite the bonuses they receive, and to wait for the Program Foundations for the purchase of property and relocation of the Krivelj settlement to be finally implemented. These foundations will be an integral part of the spatial plan for the special purpose area of the Bor-Majdanpek mining basin. Once the Serbian government adopts the spatial plan, relocation of the village and fair-price purchases will be facilitated, emphasized Stanković.

This show was produced within the project “Environmental response to mining expansion in Timočka Krajina” funded by the European Union, and implemented by the Association “Za Drinking Fountains”, the Association of Young Researchers Bor, Civic Library “Europe” Bor and Children’s Center Zaječar. The content of the show is entirely responsibility of these associations and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.