President Milanović Tours Petrinja, Majske Poljane and Sibić, and on Postwar Reconstruction Says: That Was Theft and a Disgrace

13. January 2021.

The President of the Republic Zoran Milanović toured the earthquake-stricken areas of Sisak-Moslavina County: Petrinja, Majske Poljane and Sibić. In the morning he met with the volunteer cooks that have spent the last two weeks preparing meals for the residents, and thanked them for their commitment and the “brutal work” they have done.

Later in his reply to a reporter, he commented on the engagement of the Pleter company that has taken over the preparation of hot meals. “This is a company that mostly works for the Defence ministry. I don’t know how Pleter’s work differs from what local caterers could do for the same amount of money, as some type of public works, and can be an incentive to them. However, not through volunteer work. I would be more content if this work was done by Sisak and Petrinja caterers who are anyhow in a lockdown due to COVID and who for twenty or thirty kunas per meal could pay their employees, waiters and cooks who haven’t been working for weeks and have to get paid from some source”, the President stated.

The President of the Republic toured a number of families whose homes in Majske Poljane and Sibić were destroyed in the earthquake. “I’ve come here to see these people. I’ve seen the situation on the ground, work is underway. Many services are on the ground in Majske Poljane, there is extensive damage, especially to homes that were rebuilt after the war. In Sibić, which was reconstructed in 1998, practically every house that had been rebuilt in the postwar reconstruction is damaged to the extent that they aren’t suitable for living”, President Milanović noted.

Asked about the postwar reconstruction, he said: “There was goshawking. Either the projects were botched so the houses were poorly built or the building material was stolen. Twenty years have passed, not everything is a result of war profiteering, this is goshawking and theft. This is one of our disgraces”.

During the course of his visit, he toured the construction site for the container housing community in Sajmište street in Petrinja, which is being developed by the Croatian army’s mechanization. He also met with the mayor of Petrinja Darinko Dumbović, the mayor of Sisak Kristina Ikić Baniček and the deputy mayor of Glina Branka Bakšić Mitić.

After the meeting he stated that the hierarchy and responsibility for managing the crisis on the ground should be clearer. “I would focus the responsibility on as few people as possible. There is no need for each member of the Government to come here. There will be time. In this crisis the hierarchy should be clearer, and if Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved is at the top of the hierarchy, he must constantly be in the limelight and be the most responsible person initially. In crisis situations one, two or three persons at the most should be given the responsibility, should communicate and bear the responsibility”, President Milanović said.

Asked which term is correct Banija or Banovina, he replied.  “Banija is only Banija, and Banovina refers to Croatia”, he said and added that at this moment this is irrelevant, underlining that two Church high dignitaries also said that.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Marko Beljan