HomeProjectsCountering disinformation and media development in AlbaniaLumas village, proud of its history and tourist potential, has no roads for its own residents

Lumas village, proud of its history and tourist potential, has no roads for its own residents

Lumas is little known, if not known at all, for its priceless historical, cultural and natural treasures, as the village suffers from a major lack of infrastructure. This year marks 4 years since the mayor’s promise to repair the road axis of about two kilometers that connect Lumas with Kuçova. The scandalous conditions of this axis make the daily life of thousands of residents difficult, starting from school children, farmers and the elderly, who choose not to even go to the health center. Ironically, on the website of the municipality of Kuçova, Lumas is mentioned for its natural assets, but no project for the connecting road, so vital for the area, is found.

Franko Saliasi

If you search for the name Lumas as a keyword on the official website of Kuçova Municipality, a surprising story unfolds about the antiquity and extraordinary natural and human resources of the area, where 98% of the population is engaged in agriculture.

Screenshot of the official website of Kuçovao Municipality with the description of Nj.A Lumas

The fascinating photos and history make you want to visit this area, but the residents of Lumas still don’t have a road.

Almost 2 kilometers of road, part of the connecting axis of Lumas Administrative Unit with the national road that must be crossed to get to the city of Kuçova, is destroyed and it is eroding the patience of the local residents and anyone else who, rather than desire, is forced to travel towards this area.

Bridge on the road connecting Lumas Administrative Unit with Berat-Kuçova national axis, February 15, 2023

In 2019, the mayor of Kuçova, Kreshnik Hajdari, promised to construct a new road, mostly on the track of the existing one, in order to connect the Administrative Unit of Lumas with the city of Kuçova.

Of course, we also aim to improve infrastructure as one of our objectives. The construction of Kuçova-Lumas road is important, because even though Lumas joined Kuçova Municipality after the territorial reform, it still does not have a road that connects it to Kuçova “, Hajdari declared on June 10, 2019.

The same promise was recycled by the mayor on July 23, 2022 at the meeting of the mayors with Prime Minister Edi Rama, where they presented the achievements and plans for infrastructure investments.

Regarding the construction of intercity roads, I must emphasize even though I don’t have much time, it is about the road that will connect the center of the municipality with Lumas Administrative Unit, because it is a unit that became part of Kuçova Municipality following the territorial reform and today there is no direct connecting roads with the municipality “, said mayor Hajdari.

When almost 4 years have passed since this promise, which is directly related to the lives of the residents and the development of the area, and as the 2023 local elections approach, we did a verification in Lumas.

In the middle of February, we went to see the situation with Lumas-Kuçova connecting road.

The 2-kilometer road that connects the center of the village of Lumas with the rest of the road that crosses the villages of Lapardha 1 and 2, that is, the Administrative Unit with Berat-Kuçova national axis, was in a deplorable condition.

The terrain showed a different panorama than what Mr. Hajdari had promised for the residents of this area, who complain that they cannot go to work on their pieces of land or even to the cemetery.

It is difficult for cars and ambulances to move around the village, so people neglegt going to the doctor, being scared of taking the trip to the health center.

These young people would rather use motorbikes. We, the older ones, would rather use our transport animals, instead of buying cars and having them destroyed here”, said an old man as he crossed the road on foot to his house after some shopping.

The road connecting Lumas Administrative Unit with the national road axis Berat-Kuçova on February 15, 2023

If you cross this axis, on foot or by vehicle, it is clear that investments have been missing for years. We looked for any signs announcing upcoming reconstruction projects for the road or bridge connecting the village of Bardhaj with the Administrative Unit where they receive services, but we did not find any.

Historically, we have suffered for a road. The only problem for us here is this road. In winter it becomes almost impassable after the rains. It prevents us from sending our children to school. They come and throw a hand when there is a campaign, just for the campaign! “, says Besniku, a farmer who crosses the broken road with difficulty every day.

The road route that serves about 2,000 residents is in a scandalous condition, as is the road that connects this unit with the nearest village Bardhaj, whose residents also have to receive health or administrative services in the former Lumas Municipality.

We don’t care where the municipality finds the money, we want the road. They have promised us this every campaign, even in 2019, but not only didn’t they build it, but the existing road is even taking our water away. They only come to see us when they want votes! “said a resident of the village of Vodëz, who had come with her husband to buy products on the market day.

Even the drivers of the vans that transport passengers and cross Lapardha-Lumas axis every day express revolt about the deplorable condition in which most of this road axis is located, which according to them turns into an impassable road on rainy days.

The road connecting Lumas Administrative Unit with Berat-Kuçovo national road axis, February 15, 2023

The burden of rent is no longer worth it – says another resident, who has ‘solved’ the transport of products by using transport animals.

The school children who attend the 9-year school and “Shefqet Shuaipi” high school have to go through the same problematic path. This axis leads to the center of Lumas, where children from the villages of Mêndrakë, Belesovë, Pëllumbas, Bardhaj, Vodëz, Sheqëz are educated.

Teachers and employees of the Administrative Unit and Health Center of the village are also outraged, some of whom have to travel back and forth from Kuçova, Berat or the surrounding villages, to do their job in Lumas serving local people.

The road connecting Lumas Administrative Unit with the national road axis Berat-Kuçova on February 15, 2023

We sacrifice every day to come to work because it costs us to fix our cars that get destroyed here ” – they say.

Other residents say that the village is also crossed by a stream, which in case of intense rains becomes dangerous to cross, due to the lack of a bridge.

In relation to this issue, we addressed a request for information to the Municipality of Kuçova, where, among other things, we asked if there is a project for the construction of the road connecting Lumas Administrative Unit with Kuçova.

Request for information sent to Kuçovo Municipality, February 6, 2023

Officially, this institution admits that there has been no road construction project, even though it was promised 4 years ago by Mayor Hajdari.

“Following your email for information, regarding Kuçova-Lumas road, we inform you that Kuçovo Municipality has not done any project related to this road and cannot therefore tell you what the cost of such works is”, says the Municipality of Kuçova on its official response.

Kuçovo Municipality’s response to Faktoje

If we refer to the publications on the official website of Kuçova Municipality on the planned and implemented projects, it can be seen that the plan for the promised road is missing. Even in the mid-term budget 2022-2024 of this municipality, the construction of the Lumas-Kučovo road is not specifically included, but it is emphasized in a general way:

In Kuçova Municipality, there are 314 kms of linear roads in total, including arterial roads, up to landscape and agricultural ones. According to the general local plan of Kuçova Municipality (2012), there were 3.4 km of linear roads in the city of Kuçovo. So, today’s Municipality faces the challenge of reconstructing, maintaining and supporting with services a road network 90 times more linear roads compared to 11 years ago.

Screenshot from the 2022-2024 mid-term budget

Lumas Administrative Unit was previously a municipality, which became part of Kuçova Municipality after the 2015 administrative reform.

From the verification carried out and the information gathered, we decided to categorize the 2019 promise by the mayor of Kuçova for the reconstruction of Lumas street as a promise not kept.

* This article is published as part of the call for 10 articles with a fact checking profile, part of the “Strengthening Fact Checking Journalism in Albania” Project, which is being implemented by the organization Faktoje, supported by the Dutch Embassy. These articles are part of the national competition for “Fatos Baxhaku” award.


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