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Smoke fuels fury

  THE government has granted 124 foreign buyers Permission to Purchase, a decision that has been welcomed by expat groups.

Prime Minister Sibel Siber had told Cyprus Today there were more plans to help the expat community which she described as an integral part  of our country. It is hoped that allowing the 124 separate application will bring in about four million TL for government coffers.

Dr Siber revealed: We passed a Council of Ministers decision on Wednesday effectively granting 124 foreign buyers permission to purchase. Many expats by houses, bungalows and apartments in the TRNC, but they have to wait for permission to be granted after a certain procedure of security checks and investigations which takes time.

We passed the list of applications , one of which dated back to 2009 an expat who was still waiting for this permission even though everything in the procedure was completed. This situation is unacceptable and we will be looking into how we can speed up the procedure after complaints that buyers are waiting to long. We want to motivate investment and instil trust for our foreign buyers who love North Cyprus and who have come here to live a good life in their own homes.

She added that according to their calculations there would be about 12 per cent of tax charges paid by the vendor and buyer upon transfer of the title deed from the total value of the property.

But Marion Stokes, co-founder of the Home Buyers Pressure Group said: Although this decision is welcomed much more needs to be done to speed up the process in the Permission to Purchase procedure. ENVIRONMENTSALISTS said they were horrified after the chimney of the Teknecik  power plant started spewing  black smoke. The government claimed the incident was due to a technical fault .

Speaking to Cyprus Today Economy and Energy Minister Atay Ahmet Rasit said: The incident that occurred at about 1pm on Wednesday happened following a technical problem with the first time unit, and it was shut down until it was repaired. Effective steps were taken to prevent the smoke from spreading to other parts of the area as the unit was shut down very quickly. Electricity Workers Union boss Caglayan Cesurer said: The cable that controls a unit which controls the amount of fuel and air going into the system failed to function which is what led to the black smoke being ejected throught the chimney.

When this imbalance happened in the system black smoke was spewed which unfortunately spread very quickly. Everything is working properly and there is no fault at present he added. Tourism Environment and Culture Minister Mehmet Harmanci said: There was high level of sulphur dioxide ejected between 11am and 12pm on Wednesday at a rate of 353 and 361 micrograms per hour.

We have given the directive for the chimney to be frequently checked. There was no threat to the environment. But Kenan Atakol chairman of environmental group Cekova said he was appalled by the incident.

At a time when so many studies are being worked on to determine why there is a high level of cancer and increase in other diseases such as Alzheimer’s the Teknecik power station spewed black smoke into the air, spreading as far as Girne.

This is horrifying and should not be played down. The black smoke is pure poison and a health hazard. This issue should bring the need to have a filter on the chimney of the power station to the top of the public agenda. It costs $2 million to install a filter. This is not a lot of money to protect the health of the public and the environment.

The state is not acting responsibly to protect the people. Dogan Sahir, Green Peace Movement chairman said the lack of accountability meant these sorts of faults would happen. He added: You do not get pollution of this type in civilised countries. The system should be regularly checked and serviced and a filter should be installed to prevent this from happening  again.

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