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16. June 2010.
The Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning has ceased construction of gas stations along the whole Corridor 10 in order for the locations intended for that to be first expropriated and then sold on tenders.
This business has, so far, benefited mediators the most, which were buying land from private owners to sell it to oil companies at up to 100 times higher price.
People in the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning confirmed to daily newspaper Blic that they plan to change the Law on Roads, according to which the land for gas stations is not considered a part of the highway. Therefore, the state was unable to expropriate the land, which made it possible for "well-informed individuals" to buy locations cheaply and sell them to interested oil companies at incredibly high prices.
- In addition to the amendments to the Law on Roads, we also plan to change the existing Spatial plan on Corridor 10, which is the reason why the locations for construction of gas stations will be changed. However, that is still only an initiative, which must be first adopted by the Government and then by the Parliament of Serbia as well - people from the Ministry of Spatial Planning told Blic.
Licenses for construction of gas stations alongside highways have, so far, been granted by local self-governments, while the state has only roughly determined the locations for their construction in the master plans. Some people have skilfully benefited from such legal regulations.
- In practice it looked like this - someone from the government bureaucracy tells to people close to him which location is selected for construction of a gas station. These people then buy the location from the private owner at the moment when that land is not worth more than EUR 10 per square meter. When it becomes certain that a corridor is going to be built in that part of Serbia, that location is sold at up to 100 times higher price to one of the oil companies - a source from the Serbian Government told Blic.
As Blic learns, for that reason, the Government has recently been visited by NIS CEO Kiril Kravchenko.
- Kravchenko is satisfied with the suggested solution, and it is expected that his colleagues will react the same - the source from the Government told Blic.
Bora Takić, the Deputy President of the Association of Private Gas Stations, is of the opinion that there are too many gas stations along the corridor. He also says that the price of a location for a gas station now reaches the amount of up to EUR 2m.
- Gas stations abroad are built on every 50 kilometers, while the distance between two gas stations in our country is two to three kilometers - says Takić.