Bulgarian Top Cop Blames Snow Removal Firms for Road Chaos

Business | January 10, 2012, Tuesday // 12:19|  views

According to Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the blocking of Hemus was due to "lack of needed and timely information from the company in charge of removing the snow." Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, declared that there are people and companies that must be held accountable for traffic havoc in the aftermath of heavy snow.

Tsvetanov spoke Tuesday in an interview for Nova TV.

"From the analysis we made, we established that there are individuals guilty of creating and deepening problems on the roads under winter weather conditions, especially on Hemus and Struma highways – the responsibility falls on snow removal companies," he said.

The Minister's statements were triggered by the crisis situation in the last three days where the above mentioned highways were blocked while an emergency situation was declared in a number of municipalities over snow covered roads, cutting them off from the rest of the country.

Tsvetanov warned the snow removal companies that he had assigned the Fire Rescue and Protection of Population Services and the Road Infrastructure Agency to carry out probes of them.

"Most likely, the companies, which sign these snow removal contracts, and take part in public tenders, declare they have some equipment available, and it turns out later that this equipment cannot be used or was subleased to other companies, which bid in other tenders," he stressed.

According to the Minister, the blocking of Hemus was due to "lack of needed and timely information from the company in charge of removing the snow," which was not aligned with the information he was receiving. He gave as example a company which had a modern snowplow, but no person to drive it.

"Everyone, who resists police orders or fails to follow them can be arrested for 24 hours," Tsvetanov replied after being asked if truck drivers who fail to obey police orders to not drive on highways in heavy snow, would be detained. He pointed out that the reckless behavior of a handful of drivers led to endangering lives of Bulgarian and foreign citizens, forcing scores of people, including children, to spent hours in snow drifts.

Meanwhile, it was reported that emergency situation over heavy snow fall and inclement weather is still in effect Tuesday for three Bulgarian municipalities – Teteven, Smolyan and Roman.

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Tags: drifts, havoc, emergency situation, Smolyan, Chepelare, Roman, Teteven, power, electric, Pamporovo, Hemus Highway, electricity, roads, traffic, snowfall, snow, snow removal companies, blocking, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, snowplow


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