Qormi farmers, residents oppose secretive Infrastructure Malta plans |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
19/12/2020

Qormi farmers, residents oppose secretive Infrastructure Malta plans

Unannounced project expected to take up further agricultural land and ruin farming activity in the area


Qormi farmers and residents are up in arms against yet another mysterious roadbuilding project, in which state agency Infrastructure Malta plans to build a new flyover in the Imriehel bypass. This project will necessitate the taking up of over 20 tumoli of arable land and forever destroy the farming activity in the area.


The proposed road, whose plans are currently unavailable on the PA’s mapserver, will cut through agricultural land larger than three football pitches in an ODZ. It will also spell the end of one of the last green lungs in Qormi, already strangled by traffic agglomerations that have further served to congest the area and reduce the air quality.


In addition, the flyover will mean the destruction of a huge water reservoir and the uprooting of a number of protected olive and pomegranate trees, some of which date hundreds of years.


Farmers have expressed their dismay at the way Infrastructure Malta simply decided, without notification, to take their lands, as the project is veiled in a shroud of secrecy that has now become the roads’ agency standard way of operating. They are also worried about the way these works are carried out, citing experiences from other farmers in the island who have faced similar situations.


Residents are dismayed at the fact that the flyover will also destroy the new footbridge connecting Imriehel to Qormi, in a further blow to pedestrian accessibility. The footbridge, proposed by then-MP Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, was inaugurated less than two years ago with the aim of reducing fatal accidents in the busy Imriehel Bypass. Moreover, residents have voiced their concerns about the integrity of a historical watchtower, built during Grandmaster Pinto’s rule, which dates approximately 500 years.


“We question what is the logic behind this project,” said the residents in a statement. “There is nothing to be gained in terms of traffic flow since this flyover will create a new bottleneck closer to the roundabout leading to Qormi, and we suspect that this project is being carried out to service the commercial developments in Imriehel.”


A Moviment Graffitti spokesperson criticised Infrastructure Malta’s behaviour, branding it as “an arrogant and blatant show of bullying.” The activist group criticised CEO Ing. Frederick Azzopardi for “engineering a systematic campaign against farmers, driving them out of their lands to appease various developers and commercial interests, whilst resorting to threats and lies, typical of somebody who has things to hide.”


Moviment Graffitti reiterated its commitment to preserving the quality of life of farmers and residents across the island, reserving the right to take any action it deems fit.


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Bdiewa u residenti qriema jopponu pjanijiet sigrieta ta’ Infrastructure Malta

Proġett miżmum fil-mistur mistenni jibla’ aktar art agrikola u jeqred l-attività tal-biedja fiż-żona


Il-bdiewa u r-residenti Qriema jinsabu rrabjati ferm minħabba proġett ieħor ta’ bini ta’ toroq; proġett ieħor misterjuż imfassal mill-aġenżija statali Infrastructure Malta għal flyover ġdida fil-bypass tal-Imrieħel. Il-proġett se jikkawża t-teħid ta’ aktar minn 20 tomna ta’ raba’ maħdum u se jeqred l-attività tal-biedja fiż-żona.


It-triq li qed tiġi proposta, li l-pjanijiet għaliha mhux disponibbli fuq is-server tal-mapep tal-PA, se tkun qed tgħaddi minn medda ta’ art agrikola akbar minn tliet grawnds tal-futbol f’art ODZ. Se tkun ukoll qed taqta’ l-kundanna għall-mewt għal waħda mill-ftit meded ta’ art li fadal li jservu ta’ pulmun għal Ħal Qormi, li diġà jinsab fgat mill-ammont ta’ traffiku li jinġema’, li wassal biex kompla joħnoq iż-żona u jniġġes l-arja.


Barra minn hekk, il-flyover se twassal ukoll għall-qerda ta’ ġibjun kbir tal-ilma u għall-qlugħ ta’ numru ta’ siġar protetti taż-żebbuġ u tar-rummien, li xi wħud minnhom imorru lura għal mijiet ta’ snin.


Il-bdiewa espremew id-dispjaċir tagħhom għall-mod kif Infrastructure Malta qabdet u ddeċidiet, mingħajr l-ebda avviż, li tieħu l-artijiet tagħhom. Jidher li dan l-aġir sar il-mod standard kif topera l-aġenzija tat-toroq, hekk kif dan ma kienx l-ewwel proġett li nżamm mistur ’il bogħod mill-għajn u l-iskrutinju tal-pubbliku. Il-bdiewa jinsabu mħassba wkoll dwar il-mod kif qed isiru dawn ix-xogħlijiet, u għamlu referenza għal esperjenzi li ġarrbu bdiewa oħra fil-pajjiż li kellhom jaffaċċjaw sitwazzjonijiet simili.


Ir-residenti wrew id-diżappunt tagħhom għall-fatt li l-flyover se tkun qed teqred ukoll il-pont pedonali ġdid li jgħaqqad l-Imrieħel ma’ Ħal Qormi; daqqa ta’ ħarta oħra fil-wiċċ għall-aċċessibbiltà pedonali. Il-pont pedonali, li kien ġie propost minn Marie Louise Coleiro Preca fil-kapaċità tagħha bħala MP dak iż-żmien, kien ġie inawgurat inqas minn sentejn ilu, bl-għan li jnaqqas in-numru ta’ inċidenti fatali fil-bypass perikoluża tal-Imrieħel. Barra minn dan, ir-residenti semmgħu t-tħassib tagħhom dwar l-integrità tat-torri storiku tal-għassa, li kien inbena matul il-ħakma tal-Granmastru Pinto, u li jmur lura madwar 500 sena.


“Nixtiequ li xi ħadd jispjegalna x’inhi l-loġika wara dan il-proġett,” qalu r-residenti fi stqarrija. “M’hemm xejn li se jiġi ggwadanjat fejn jidħol il-fluss ta’ traffiku, propju għaliex din il-flyover se toħloq bottleneck ġdid qrib ir-roundabout li tieħdok Ħal Qormi, u nissuspettaw li dan il-proġett se jsir biex iservi u jakkomoda l-iżviluppi kummerċjali fl-Imrieħel.”


Kelliem għall-Moviment Graffitti kkritika l-imġiba ta’ Infrastructure Malta, u ddeskriva dan l-aġir bħala “att ta’ arroganza u bullying sfaċċat.” Il-grupp ta’ attivisti kkritika lis-CEO Ing. Frederick Azzopardi talli “qed jimplimenta kampanja sistematika kontra l-bdiewa, u jkeċċi lill-bdiewa minn arthom stess biex ipaxxi diversi żviluppaturi u interessi kummerċjali, filwaqt li jirrikorri għat-theddid u l-gideb, manuvri tipiċi ta’ xi ħadd li għandu x’jaħbi.”


Il-Moviment Graffitti tenna l-impenn tiegħu biex jippreserva l-kwalità tal-ħajja tal-bdiewa u r-residenti madwar il-pajjiż, filwaqt li rriserva d-dritt tiegħu li jieħu kwalunkwe azzjoni li jqis xierqa.