Mr. Ioannis Mangriotis, Deputy Minister of Infrastructures, Transportations and Networks paid a visit at the premises of ATTIKO METRO S.A. in Thessaloniki and had a meeting with the new Chairman of ATTIKO METRO S.A., Mr. Christos Tsitouras and the new Management of the Company.
Upon completion of the meeting, Mr. Mangriotis made the following statements:
“As we had pointed out, upon appointment of the new Management of ATTIKO METRO S.A. chaired by Mr. C. Tsitouras a new era starts for Thessaloniki Metro as well. We managed to solve many problems in the past years, major pending issues and mainly problems confronted by the people who run their business in areas where the Metro stations are constructed.
Today the new Management of the Thessaloniki Metro was appointed by ATTIKO METRO S.A. aiming at reconstituting the Metro mechanism and the structure in Thessaloniki, at solving immediately all outstanding issues and problems, at making this change noticeable in the following days.
In particular, I wish to say that, first of all and during this first period, the Department of Thessaloniki Metro in close co-operation with ATTIKO METRO S.A. Departments in Athens, its Management and our undivided support, will strive to overcome all issues still pending from the past years which led to major delays in the construction of the 9.6km Base Line in the boundaries of the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
Our goal it to recover a large part of the time lost and, as I have already said,to have the base line completed early 2014.This is therefore our decision and we need the co-operation of all agencies involved in the area of Thessaloniki, of its citizens, the employees and the businessmen, given that we all love the METRO and Thessaloniki should have taken advantage of its benefits many years ago but due to several mistakes the outcome was most unfair for the city of Thessaloniki. We have decided not to make any other mistake in the future. We should all support this major project, for the sake of the city, its citizens, their every-day life, the quality of their life and its attractiveness to visitors and investors.
This should be made clear to all of us. This is a project which unifies us all.
In addition, I wish to add that the tunnel boring machines will soon resume their activities. This is something that we all are waiting for, an essential step that will demonstrate the acceleration rate of works and that there will be no delays or gaps. Early next month the last problems relating to the stations and the constructing firms will be solved and the TBMs will operate again. This will be the first strong message, proving that we will move forwards at a rapid pace.
By the end of the year, we estimate that we can complete the tender procedure and the extension of the Metro towards Kalamaria. You are all aware of the delays at the State Council as well as of the delays that were caused due to lack of design maturity. In spring 2009 during the run-in to the European Elections, we had stressed that the previous government had announced the tendering procedure of the A’ Phase only for pre-election purposes. There was neither design maturity nor secured funding. The Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Mr. Reppas, in co-operation with the Minister of Finance Mr. Papakonstantinou and the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Mrs. Birbili, have ensured the overall funding of both the construction of the Base Line and the extension to Kalamaria.
Moreover, it is also important to mention that the new Management of ATTIKO METRO S.A., in co-operation with the Departments and the executive members of the Company, concluded that the remaining designs can be completed inside the Company, given that there is the know-how and the relevant experience. In this way, we will save valuable time and there will be no need to spend a significant amount of money. At the end of 2010 we are optimist that the tendering procedure of the extension to Kalamaria will be completed.
I can also say pretty safely that the designs for the Metro extension westwards, firstly parallel to Langada street towards Efkarpia and the Hospitals in north-western suburbs of Thessaloniki. Our intention is to work against the clock so as to be able, within the framework of the D’ Program Period, called ESPA, to put this Line to tender.The Line westrwards Thessaloniki as well as the new Line to be designed, further to our pertinent instructions, which shall continue the route from Sidirodromikos Stathmos, Xirokrini, Ambelokipi, Menemeni, Evosmos and Kordellio and will end in combination with the Suburban Railway in the industrial zone and at the Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) of Sindos.
These are our plans, these are our top priorities, so we all work in this direction and I am really optimist that we can achieve our goals, since Thessaloniki and people who live in this city deserve this effort and our struggle.
Answering to a question made by a journalist with regard to when the METRO is to be ready, Mr. i. Mangriotis stressed: “the plan and our effort is focused on having it completed early 2014. We need the co-operation and the assistance of all the local agencies. Unfortunately over 2.5 years have been lost; however, , we are determined to strive in order to recover a major part of these delays”.
Replying to a question referring to when the Tunnel Boring Machines are to resume their activities, Mr. Mangriotis stated: “Given the priorities set in co-operation with the leadership and the executive members of ATTIKO METRO S.A., we believe that early next month they will resume their activities again”.
Replying to a question with regard to a strike of the employees and their salaries, Mr. Mangriotis stressed that: “There have been such problems in the last months, but they were resolved thanks to the immediate intervention of Mr. Tsitouras and we hope that such problems will not arise in future.
The employees must be paid in time because they work under adverse conditions. We should fortify and secure the safety and hygiene conditions, since we all should achieve this goal”.
In a reply to a question with regard to Papafio, Mr. I. Mangriotis pointed out:”What I can say at the moment is that soon there will be positive evolutions with regard to the said issue, but I do not want to give any details because it turned out to be a complicated issue while no problem existed three years ago, when a memorandum of co-operation was concluded between the former Ministry of PEHODE and the Administration of Papafio. Due to a bad co-operation between the Management of YPEHODE and the Ministry of Welfare in the previous years combined with the false assessments and decisions made by the Administration of Papafio, several problems came up which led to further delays and preoccupied the citizens of Thessaloniki, and especially the residents of the wider area of Papafio. Papafi Station will be constructed”.