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Evicted Romany families should get money - Czech minister

Prague, 19.2.2007 20:01, (CTK)

The ten Romany families that were evicted from the North Moravian town of Vsetin last autumn as rent-defaulters and moved to ramshackle houses in the Moravian Jesenik region may be given some subsidies for the basic repairs of their houses, Czech Minister without Portfolio Dzamila Stehlikova (Greens) told journalists today.

Stehlikova said that she wanted to obtain 1.5 million crowns in total and that she would submit the proposal to the government in about a month.

The idea to seek the subsidy was recommended to her by the government council for Romany community affairs.

When Christian Democrat leader, senator Jiri Cunek, was the mayor of Vsetin, the town hall evicted the Romanies from a dilapidated tenant house in the town centre last October.

Most of the families were moved to "container-type" house at the town edges and the rest went to the Jesenice region where they were given some ramshackle houses. Romanies are to repay them for 20 years.Cunek has absolutely rejected the proposal. "Our generosity has some limits," he wrote in a statement passed to CTK.

He dismissed Stehlikova's criticism. He said he resented the comparison of the removal of the Romanies to the post-war deportation of Germans and also the provision of subsidies.

"They must put up some effort, to be responsible for their houses because they destroyed the previous ones. This must not repeat," Cunek told CTK today.

Cunek said that Stehlikova, who was in charge of minorities, spoke about a problem she did not know.

Stehlikova said that some of the houses did not have any drinking water and sewage system. Electricity is flawed in one of them and fire has flared up in it twice, she added.

"The conditions in which the families live are miserable," Stehlikova said.

She said that since the Romanies also had to repay a mortgage, they were unable to pay the repair works.

Stehlikova said that she wanted to obtain the money from the Local Development Ministry, headed by Cunek. Some money may also be provided by the Vsetin town hall, she added.

According to an expert analysis, there are over 300 poverty houses and neighbourhoods primarily inhabited by Romanies. There are an estimated 80,000 people living in them. Most of the adults have no jobs and the families live on welfare.

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Czech republic, Vsetín



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