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Czech court most likely to determine who owns the sewers on Přednádraží street

Ostrava, 22.8.2012 17:42, (ROMEA)

In all probability the question of who owns the problematic sewer lines on Přednádraží street in Ostrava will have to be decided by a court. The town of Ostrava is planning to file a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment on the matter. The town believes the broken wastewater plumbing is the property of the Czech state. Deputy Mayor Dalibor Madej informed the Czech Press Agency of the town's move today.

"The town council will discuss this next week. We want to sue the state and seek a declaratory judgment. Those sewer lines were originally the property of Czech Railways. Our legal analyses say they are still state property today," Madej said.

The broken sewer lines were what started the entire problem now unfolding in the ghetto on Přednádraží street. It is not completely clear who owns the lines - whether Czech Railways, the Czech state, the owner of the buildings that connect to them, or the town of Ostrava.

The Building Works Authority recently instructed residents on Přednádraží street to move out of the dilapidated buildings because continued occupancy of them would be life-threatening. Oldřich Roztočil, whose Domy Přednádraží firm owns the buildings, has also called on the residents to move out. More than 100 people, including many children, have refused to move out and have started making minor repairs to the buildings that are still occupied. The residents are predominantly Romani.

The sewer lines have not been working in the buildings for some time and water service has been cut off for two weeks. People have been bringing in a supplementary water tank. Roztočil says the problems with the sewer lines and their ownership are the reason he has not been able to renovate the properties.

The ghetto originally featured 11 buildings. One was the property of the Municipal Department of Moravská Ostrava and Přívoz, which demolished it because it was not cost-effective to renovate it. The tenants from that building were moved into other municipally-owned apartments. Officials have offered the other residents the option of moving into residential hotels, but the residents have rejected that option, saying it would mean moving into worse conditions that would be too expensive. The municipal department has said it does not want to offer the rest of the residents municipally-owned apartments because there are many rent defaulters among the people in the ghetto.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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