By Telnis Skuqi
Delvina – Elefteri Lluci, an inhabitant of Finiq Commune can be called one of the most hard-working women in the region. About one month ago, four visitors from Gjirokastra were amazed by the youth of the 65 year old woman. “I have never met before such a hard-working woman like her. She picked some 80 kilos of lemons in 30 minutes”, says Ira Duro, one of the four visitors. According to her, Elefteria was climbing up and down from the tree with an extraordinary dexterity.
Elefteri Lluci, Finiq
“Since I started to deal with the cultivation of the lemons and oranges I have given up getting the economic aid”, says Elefteria. “I have at least 7 years that I have moved away the poverty”, she adds and smiles. Elefteria tells that some years ago she was living with the Greek retirement payment and with the economic aid. “My husband and I do not benefit any supplementary Greek retirement payment due to the economic crises that has stricken the Greek country in the last years”, expresses Elefteria, adding that her three children do not send any money from emigration. The only solution, she continuous, was to plan fruit trees. “Nowadays thanks to the work in the last years we have increased the standard”, she stresses.
Sokrat Spiro, the mayor of Finiq commune says that there is no family registered in his commune in the economic aid list. “They have disappeared since many years ago”, says Sokrat jogging. According to him, the inhabitants have turned back to work, at a time that hundreds of hectares are “dressed” with lemons and oranges. “Out of 75 families that were benefitting the economic aid in 2008 in Finiq commune, there is none left now”, specifies Spiro. I do not think that the economic aid is the only tool to keep your spirit alive”, he adds. Furthermore, the Finiq mayor says that after the interruption of the Greek pensions, the inhabitants have increased the production. Hence, nowadays any Finiq family can manage at least 100 lemon trees. The same number of orange trees as well. Personally speaking, I think that this is the most valuable treasure rather than an economic aid”, underlines Spiro.
Sokrat Spiro, mayor of Finiq-Delvine
Spiro says that in the last years the irrigation system has been improved, at a time that thousands of arable hectares of land have started to be planted. “During summer, the season’ s productions are almost totally sold, thanks to the coastal tourism”, says Spiro, who is clarifying that the Finiq commune lays in the Vurgu lowland and has under its administration seven villages with approximately 7000 inhabitants.
Completely different is the situation in Delvina municipality, one of the towns with the highest number of the unemployed people in the southern part of the country, with a surface of more than five thousand hectares. Haxhi Abedini has three children. His wife and he are unemployed for more than five years. This family manages to survive in very difficult conditions thanks to the economic aid, the three thousand leke that the 56 year old head of the family gets every month. Confronted by this wild reality, Haxhiu remembers with nostalgia the years when Delvina was prosperous and how after the ‘90s everything has changed to the worse.
“Before the ‘90s, Delvina was the industrial and agricultural centre on the south, nowadays the socialist corporations have disappeared and together with that even the desire for work”, says in despair Haxhiu and at that moment he rolled a cigarette. Haxhiu tells that it’s now 20 years that he can keep alive only through the economic aid. Delvina is the town of unemployment. The clothing companies do not exist, whereas the small business lives with trifles”, says Haxhiu, who continuously goes to the third floor building of the local governance.
Mayor of Delvina municipality, Dhurim Alinani
The mayor of Delvina, Dhurim Alinani, says that the unemployment reached 44% of a number of fourteen thousand inhabitants that live in this southwestern town. “The movement of the population towards the towns under development has taken place side by side with the emigration of the inhabitants towards Italy and Greece, but in the last years there has happened a turnabout of this trend”, explains Alinani, adding that this change has increased the number of the people that ask the economic aid. “Honestly, I have added people in the economic aid scheme, even though they were not fulfilling the criteria”, says Alinani. According to him, Delvina is a difficult town to be administered due to the high level of unemployment. “Every year, the number of people who are asking the economic aid is increasing”. The newcomers are more hard-workers than the autochthones. The native people consider it as a shame to work”, underlines Alinani.
“Ten years ago, about 120 families were benefiting the economic aid, their number has been already doubled , something that has halved the amount of the benefit. In 2003, a family was benefiting around seven thousand lek, nowadays it benefits 3300 leke”, adds Alinani. Alinani admits that this is not a sound situation for Delvina municipality, as half of the population lives in a “social depression”. The living conditions, continues Alinani, are at the lowest level, at a time that the social services can not satisfy all the beneficiaries. “I do not think that a family consisting of six members can live with the 3300 leke of the economic aid. The social and economic informality is at the highest levels, whereas the economic development is beyond the means”, says Alinani. Furthermore, the Delvina mayor expresses that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for his town. “Delvina administers thousands of hectares of arable land and pastures, but they have remained untilled for many decades”, emphasizes Alinani.
Ines Stasa, Director of State Social Service of Vlora region
Ines Stasa, Director of State Social Service of Vlora region, says that out of 223 families that are treated with the economic aid in Delvina municipality, 16 of them are treated from the fund of the local governance unit, out of the legal criteria. “Only during the last year, from January to December, the number of the families that were benefitting the social aid has been increased, from 190 families in January to 223 in December”, says Stasa. According to her, differently from the other LGUs, the municipal councilors are taking the decisions once in two months, being in violation to the law. “Personally speaking, I judge it as a positive action the delivery of the economic aid through the bank system”, specifies Stasa.
Furthermore, the Regional State Social Service Directorate, clarifies that out of 223 families that benefit from the scheme of the economic aid, 19 families have one member, 34 families consist of 2 members, 57 families with 3 members, 69 families with 4 members, 32 families with 5 members, 7 families with 6 members, whereas one family consists of 7 members. Stasa emphasizes that the State Social Service has asked from the Municipality of Delvina to remove from the scheme of the economic aid seven families that were benefitting unfairly the economic aid. “Actually, the State Social Service, being the auditor of the payments lists of the economic aid and for the payment of disability considers that the system does not comply with the possibilities and capacities that this service must have. On this frame, the role and dependency of the social administrators that exercise their activity in the local governance units is considered to be very important”, concludes Stasa.
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