”I hope it will be resolved, but the only question is when,” says Banja Luka resident Slavojka, one of the many who share the worry that the city, the financial and political center of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) entity Republika Srpska (RS), could end up buried in garbage.
The reason for this is a dispute between two local utility companies that are unable to resolve the dispute over the ownership of the only waste disposal site in the area.
Until now, the private company “Cistoca” has been taking garbage to the waste disposal site next to Banja Luka, which is managed by the public company “DEP-OT”.
In August of this year, “DEP-OT” terminated the contract with “Cistoca” on waste disposal at the landfill and gave it until September 15th to find a new landfill where it will dispose of waste.
Waste disposal contract terminated due to dispute
The city landfill in Banja Luka covers 280 dunams of land. The Banja Luka private company “Cistoca” became the owner of the landfill in 2020, by the decision of the Republic Administration for Geodetic and Property-Legal Affairs of the RS.
This decision was contested by the City of Banjaluka, “DEP-OT” and the Republic Attorney General. They considered that the private company had no right to that land, after which they appealed to the competent courts.
”Cistoca” is a former public utility company that was privatized in 2001. However, after privatization, this company did not transfer ownership of the land at the disputed landfill.
A year later, in 2002, this was done by the City of Banjaluka by decision of the City Assembly, which then founded the Public Enterprise DEP-OT in 2003 with seven surrounding municipalities (Gradiska, Laktasi, Srbac, Prnjavor, Celinac, Kotor Varos and Knezevo). The reason for establishing the company was the rehabilitation of the existing landfill and the management of waste disposal.
In 2005, the City Assembly transferred the right to use the land of the landfill to the company it founded – DEP-OT, with a fee of 2.66 million BAM (1.3 million euros).
The private company “Cistoca” failed to appeal these decisions and thus lost the right to the mentioned land, the DEP-OT stated, Slobodna Evropa writes.