Ina Allkanjari

After winning his second term, Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj stated that the improvement of road infrastructure in Tirana villages would be a priority. A verification by Faktoje in Zall Dajt village, located 15 kilometers from Tirana, found that students are often unable to attend school due to the difficult terrain. The Municipality justifies the lack of intervention in the road infrastructure by stating a shift in priorities as a result of the November 26 earthquake and the pandemic.

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“Attending school is not a Spartan battle, but a stroll on the sidewalk, under suitable lighting and in a safe environment. The fact that we do not wait 4 years, not even 4 weeks to start the works for villages, I think gives hope to everyone looking at this investment and wondering when their turn will come”- Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj stated in August 2019, while emphasizing that the improvement of road infrastructure in the villages surrounding Tirana would be one of the priorities in his second term as Mayor.

In November, Faktoje visited Zall Dajt, located just 15 kilometers from Tirana, where they found a lacking road infrastructure.

Zall Dajt road, about 15 km from Tirana, photo, December 22, 2021

Teachers and students in Zall Dajt area complain about the challenges they have to face due to the lacking roads, which make school attendance impossible, particularly during the colder months.

Faktoje found that some of the students attending the “Hamdi Mansaku” school center in Zall-Dajt, located just 15 km from Tirana, have to walk from Besh village to Zall-Dajt, a mountainous area with harsh winters.

Zall Dajt road, about 15 km from Tirana, photo, November 2021

Prompted by this concern of the community, Faktoje addressed a request for information to Tirana Municipality on November 10. We inquired about the measures taken to mitigate this issue and whether the Municipality intends to intervene and improve the road infrastructure.

Screenshot of the request for information addressed to the Municipality of Tirana, dated 10.11.2021

In its official reply to Faktoje on December 13, Tirana Municipality states that, as a result of the circumstances arising from the November 2019 earthquake and the Covid-19 pandemic, the priorities have shifted.

“The focus of Tirana Municipality is on improving the road infrastructure connecting the village centers where the schools are located. However, due to the situation resulting from the November 2019 earthquake and the recent pandemic, the priority order has changed. Thus, we will consider the option to intervene in the road infrastructure connecting the village centers” – the official reply states.

Road to Shupal village, photographed on December 22, 2021

Moreover, Faktoje asked Tirana Municipality whether children attending the “Hamdi Mansaku” School in Zall Dajt, Besh village and Selitë e Malit were provided with transportation and what was the Municipality’s solution for these children who have to walk 45 minutes to 3 hours on foot to attend school.

Zall Dajt, road in front of “Hamdi Mansaku” school, photographed on December 22, 2021

In its reply, the Municipality emphasizes that student transportation is carried out through regular specialized house-school institution services for pupils and students.

“According to Instruction No. 5627, dated 18.11.2016 On the Establishment of Criteria, Rules and Documentation for the Issuance of Licenses and Certificates for the Activity of Road Passenger Transport within the Country, we hereby inform you that student transport is carried out through regular specialized house-school institution services for pupils and students. The regular specialized services within the country are subject to licensing, and it is also required to conclude contracts between the transport provider and the subject, which serves as a control document for such services” – Tirana Municipality writes in its reply to Faktoje.

Screenshot of the reply of Tirana Municipality, dated 13.12.2021

On November 12, Faktoje published an article concerning several issues that students attending schools in the suburbs of Tirana face daily in terms of transport. The state subsidizes students and teachers whose schools are far away with ALL 80 per day, but their actual transportation costs are several times higher. The Minister of Education confirms the issue and has announced that a DCM is under process regarding the increase of reimbursement amount. Parents and teachers request immediate measures be taken to improve the road infrastructure and provide transport in these areas, in order to prevent students from dropping out.