Parliamentary committee backs bill on post-quake reconstruction of Zagreb, N-W Croatia

Zagreb - The Parliamentary Construction and Zoning Committee on Monday supported a government-sponsored bill on the reconstruction of the Zagreb area after the 22 March earthquake under which the Government will cover 60% of the costs and local governments and owners 20% each.

The bill that will receive a first reading in Parliament on Tuesday was supported by nine members of the committee while three abstained from the voting.

Presenting the bill, Construction Minister Darko Horvat said that the aim of the legislation would be the structural reconstruction of quake-damaged buildings so that they could be more resilient to strong quakes in the future and also to make it possible for residents to move back to their homes in quake-hit areas as soon as possible.

The proposed legislation stipulates the procedures for the rebuilding, demolition, construction of replacement homes, Horvat said.

A reconstruction fund will be established to oversee the works, raise money for the reconstruction and serve as a one stop shop for all citizens affected by the quake.

Also, an advisory body will be set up to provide advice during the reconstruction.

The law is expected to ensure the principles of organised reconstruction under professional regulations so as to preserve Zagreb's historical and artistic value. All interested stakeholders, builders, architects, art historians, conservationists and others were consulted in drafting the bill, which was also put to public consultation, resulting in 400 comments, some of which were incorporated into the bill.

Opposition MPs requested a more precise specification of some segments of the law, for instance how to regulate a lien in case when a property has more co-owners without enough money for contingencies. They also demanded the introduction of a social criterion for participation in the funding of the reconstruction.

Author: Hina