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Serbia: Belgrade's metro works start amid protests

Critics claim lines may endanger water supply

22 November, 19:04
(ANSA) - BELGRADE, NOV 22 - Works started in Belgrade on the site of the future metro depot today, marking the official start of an ambitious infrastructure project for the Serbian capital.

Embankment and terrain preparation began at Makisko Polje, a suburban area in Belgrade, where the line 1 of the future metro will start, the news agency Tanjug reported. The first metro line will connect the districts of Zeleznik and Mirijevo, while a second will connect Mirijevo and the municipality of Zemun, Tanjug said. Both lines will be 21 km long and will be completed by 2028-30. The first idea of a metro in Belgrade goes back to the 1920s, but the project was always postponed due to financial reasons or because of war and crises.

Protests were held in the area of the future depot. Opposition leaders and activists claim that the future metro lines will not serve the real needs of the city and that the works endanger the Serbian capital's water supply, at the wetland area at Makisko Polje, the regional television N1 reported.

The Serbian government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese company PowerChina and with the French Alstom and Egis Rail for the construction of the metro. The estimated costs of the project are around 4 billion euro. (ANSA).

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