Djilas: Belgrade subway twice more expensive than the one designed in 2012

Serbian opposition leader Dragan Djilas said on Saturday that the project of the Belgrade subway, as presented by the authorities, was “a crime against citizens,” underlining that the costs of this project, estimated at 4.4 billion euro, are twice higher the subway project that the Serbian Parliament adopted seven years ago.

Djilas also reminded that in June 2010, the Belgrade Assembly unanimously adopted project documentation regarding the construction of the subway, and added that that was the first time that the Assembly had a consensus on the matter.

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Djilas went on to say that, In April 2012, the preliminary design for the first line of the subway, stretching from Galenika to Ustanička Street and further on to the Republic Square, was revealed. In the square, this line would cross another line, which would connect Mirijevo to Orlovača, and its length would be slightly over 41 kilometre.

Djilas then presented the calculations done by the French company Egis, which presented to the current authorities the construction costs for the two subway lines, and then the city’s proposal with reduced costs providing domestic companies would be hired to do the work, which would cost 2.2 billion euro.

Djilas said that Egis quoted the price for the section from Vuk’s monument to Novi Beograd as just over 702 million euro,  while the city government estimated it would cost around 543 million euro.

When asked if the activities around the Belgrade subway picked up pace due to the upcoming visit by the French President Emmanuel Macron, who is supposed to seal the deal, Djilas said that the French company is in charge of only 10% of the project. The problem, he said, lies with the Chinese company, also engaged in the construction, which got the job without a proper tender.

Head of the Alliance for Serbia’s caucus in the Belgrade Assembly, Nikola Jovanovic said that the government first began talking about the price of the subway in 2015, when the then-mayor said that the first line would cost 800 million euro and the second close to 1 billion euro.

Jovanovic adds that that was the moment when the construction costs started to be inflated with Deputy Mayor of Belgrade, Goran Vesic saying, in mid-2018, that the estimated price was 3 billion euro, only for this amount to grow to 3.6 billion euro in December of the same year.

Jovanovic also reminded that, the other day, after meeting with the French and Chinese companies that would build the subway, the Serbian Finance Minister, Sinisa Mali said that the price of the construction of two subway lines would total about 4 billion euro, with the first line costing 1.8 billion euro and the second 2.2 billion euro. Jovanovic also said that Mali had been constantly comparing the Belgrade subway to the one in Sofia, where two subway lines, of the total length of 40.5 kilometres, were built for 1.82 billion euro, or 45 million euro per kilometre.

“The Chinese company will charge us between 50 to 60 million euro per kilometre. The most expensive subway built was the one in Minsk, where the price per kilometre was 80 million euro,” Jovanovic said.

Djilas also said that we should not forget that the price of a kilometre of the Belgrade subway would cost approximately 100 million euro and that even that price was not final. He also said that he hoped that there would be a new government in place by the time the subway construction started.

(N1, 15.06.2019)




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