Czech ministers visit excluded localities in Šluknov area
The ministers were primarily interested in the conditions in which local people live and the problems of municipalities there.
The trio headed to the region on the basis of a letter from 18 mayors in the Šluknov foothills who complained to Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka about what they allege is a newly tense situation. The ministers visited a housing estate inhabited by dozens of socially vulnerable people as well as a private apartment building offering accommodation of the lowest category.
For a two-room apartment without heat, locals are paying CZK 8 500 in rent alone. Minister Chovanec did not hide his disillusionment with the poor state of the apartment, in which a family with children now lives.
"That apartment is not worth CZK 500. If it can even be called an apartment," he said.
Czech Labor Minister Michaela Marksová Tominová says the situation in which the state, through its allowances and additional payments for housing, covers the overpriced rents charged by the owners of such apartment buildings and residential hotels, should be resolved by an amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress. "The law could apply starting next year, but there is also the possibility that the lower house would fast-track it," she said.
Czech MP Jaroslav Foldyna (ČSSD) of Děčín wants to propose that option to the ČSSD club in the legislature. "It would help to have an extraordinary session of the Chamber of Deputies to review a package of social legislation," he told the Czech News Agency.
According to Petra Trypesová, spokesperson for the Děčín police, the security situation the Šluknov foothills is gradually improving. "Our statistics show that the amount of criminal activity is falling and the number of crimes solved is going up. The security situation is gradually improving," she told the Czech News Agency.
The most recent serious conflict in the area was addressed by police at the beginning of April. A brawl broke out near the residential hotels in the town of Varnsdorf.
Persons posting to the Facebook social networking site alleged that dozens of people were involved in the brawl. Police reject that characterization as incorrect.
"According to the results of the investigation by our detectives, this was a verbal and then physical scuffle between two men who were watched by about 10 people. Those people are involved as eyewitnesses. The attacker was charged with rioting," Trypesová said.
Three years ago the Šluknov foothills were targeted by right-wing radicals who staged demonstrations that were joined by local people. Police subsequently established a special riot unit for the area because of the unrest.
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