“The orbital forest project is ready.” This is what mayor Balilaj stated in 2019 while asking the citizens of Patos to vote for her for a second term; a promise that not only has gone unfulfilled, but that is also impossible to be fulfilled by the municipality she leads. 

“The orbital forest project is ready.”

This is what mayor Rajmonda Balilaj stated on June 8, 2019, while she was presenting the achievements of her first term as mayor and seeking a second term at the head of this municipality in the village of Sheqishte.

Faktoje went to Patos to inquire about what is going on with the orbital forest project, but failed to provide any information proving its progress, even though more than a year has passed since mayor Balilaj made the promise.

Since the project was presented in the village of Sheqishte, Faktoje went there to require information from the residents, but they had no idea or expectations for this promise.

Sheqishte, Patos

If you search online for orbital forests in the region, the main suggestions are related to Tirana’s highly-promoted orbital forest. There is no trace of the Patos orbital forest online.

Faktoje required information from Patos Municipality itself, by presenting a formal request for information in regard to the realization phase of the project and we received this answer:

“Considering that the territory of the Municipality of Patos is of a relatively small geographical extend, it is not possible to create an orbital forest, but the Municipality of Patos has planted trees in certain areas forming mini forests; as done, for example, in Shqeshte, along the village stream, where about 500 trees were planted, in Rusinj (Mazarent, former landfill), which was cleared and afforested with 600 tree seedlings, in Seman River embankment with a length of about 6.3 km, which was afforested with 7000 trees and greenery along different road segments and in educational facilities “.

Based on all the data collected and field verification, Faktoje will categorize this promise as UNFULFILLED, but also as impossible, as confirmed by the municipality of Patos itself.

* Faktoje, supported by the National Endowment Democracy (Ned) is monitoring 10 municipalities in the country and is verifying whether or not the promises made by the mayors have been kept.