NEPI Rockcastle still does not have a permit to drain underground water during the trial operation of the Promenada Shopping Centre. Until “Vodovod i kanalizacija” PUC issues the necessary permit, water is being illegally released into the sewage system of Novi Sad. Competent bodies have been informed about this, this public utility company confirmed to the Investigative and Analytic Centre of Vojvodina (VOICE).
There are just a few more days until the end of this year and the investor NEPI Rockcastle will apparently greet the new year from “the other side of the law.” Even though it was announced that “Vodovod i kanalizacija” would again allow the release of underground water, this time during the trial period, this has not happened so far.
Since the previous permit, extended following a request submitted by the contactor, expired on 30th November, NEPI has found itself in a “vacuum period” between two permits, which is why public utilities inspection had to react.
The inspectors have visited the site twice this December, accompanied by representatives of NEPI and engineers from “Vodovod i kanalizacija” and concluded that underground water was illegally released into the city’s sewage system.
“The rule is that we report any illegal activity to the inspection, and they usually allow a period of 20-30 days for irregularities to be fixed, to meet professional and legal standards,” “Vodovod i kanalizacija” states, adding that this company has not received any official report from the inspection visits.
The city’s department in charge of inspections has not provided an answer to the question which irregularities were noticed by the public utilities inspectors and whether they have initiated any proceedings against the investor with regard to the irregularities.
The marketing manager of NEPI, Tijana Mijovic ignored our call to issue a statement about the inspection and so did the representatives of the Promenada Shopping Centre.
Almost one month ago, VOICE wrote that NEPI would be illegally releasing underground water after their permit to drain it during construction works expired on the last day of November.
The question asked by “Gradjanska Vojvodina” still relevant
The chief engineer at “Vodovod i kanalizacija” Ikonija Karadzic then said that “there is no legal ground to extend the permit once again”, and that the investor would be breaking the law until a new contract was signed and manholes installed.
This illegal release of underground water into the sewage system was supposed to last between two and three weeks, until a new price list was adopted, a contract signed and necessary infrastructure built.
However, the “transition” period dragged because the whole process is very complicated and it is complicated even further by the fact that draining underground water from wells during a facility’s trial operation something completely new to both “Vodovod i kanalizacija” and the City.
As they say in “Vodovod i kanalizacija”, a draft of the contract and the design are ready, almost all permits have been obtained from public companies and the applicant for a temporary permit is informed about the whole process.
What remains, they say, is for the city’s department of urban planning and housing to approve the installation of manhole in the next few days.
“We will then send the applicants a draft of the contract, so that they can analyse it and if everything is alright, we’ll sign it as soon as possible,” they say at “Vodovod i kanalizacija”, estimating that everything will be resolved most probably in the first week of next year.
Namely, the Promenada Shopping Centre, which has been in the centre of an affair because of mistakes and irregularities during its construction and potential threat to general safety, was declared open on 15th November without a use permit.
Instead, the biggest shopping centre in Serbia opened its door to buyers on the set date with a permit for a trial operation, issued by an expert committee of the IBS institute from Novi Sad, hired by the investor.
It was announced afterwards that “Vodovod i kanalizacija” PUC would issue a permit for draining excess underground water during the trial operation for a period of one year, by which date the investor was obliged to find a permanent solution for underground water.
Mladen Savatović (VOICE)