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    Copyright: The following text is for personal information only. Any professional use or publication in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with AIM, 17 rue Rebeval, F-75019 Paris, France

    SAT, 15 NOV 1997 18:26:01 GMT

    Tutin on the Threshold of the 21 Century

    A TOWN THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THAT

    Tutin is a nice town, the local jokesters say sarcastically, the only problem is that it is far from being a town.

    AIM, BELGRADE, October 27, 1997

    Although Tutin has nearly 13 thousand inhabitants, today this town has only several asphalt streets which are in poor state, a health center surrounded with full garbage containers, packs of stray dogs, a small river buried under a heap of garbage and numerous waste dumps, has no tree-lines and only a partial sewage network, and several dilapidated "barrack-style" buildings from the times of socialist-realistic architecture. It took full 20 years to build the Culture Center. The drinking water is of dubious quality (8.5 percent impurity in comparison to the allowed 5 percent). The cited sarcasm on how close Tutin is to becoming a city, no longer sounds humorous after these few data are presented.

    This Sanjak town has been for decades a synonym of economic and, consequently, every other backwardness. According to the pre-war population census the Moslems (Bosniacs) made in this commune practically the absolute majority (97.3 percent). At that time Tutin received the assistance from the Fund for the Underdeveloped Communes. What was the extent of that assistance is visible at every step.

    "There are many reasons why Tutin kept its last place in this state, as its least developed commune. The basic reason was the lack of money. There was some money, especially within the "Green Plan" funds, but it was neither sufficient, nor adequately used", - says Saban Fetahovic, Vice-President of the Communal Assembly of Tutin.

    And, what little came was mostly used according to the whim and wishes of the local potentates. Obviously, the state was not interested in controlling its loyal party personnel. Be it as it may, the town and the people living in have been and are paying for it.

    WITH CHOLERA INTO THE NEW CENTURY

    The analysis of the trend of intestinal infectious diseases carried out on March 13, 1997 by the Epidemiological Service of the Kraljevo Health Care Institute states that during 1985 - 1995 period 14,174 cases of infectious and parasitic diseases were reported on the territory of the commune of Tutin and that jaundice is constantly present, mostly among school and pre-school children. In some years, the mortality rate due to these diseases in Tutin was as much as five times higher than the level registered for central Serbia. Only 40 percent of households in this town are connected with the sewer system, while contents of several septic tanks are being discharged onto the pavements, streets and green areas.

    Thus, some ten meters from an elementary school in the center of Tutin a shallow canal served as as a sewage system and after every downpour it spilled over leaving its contents all over the city streets.

    "Since last November when we took over the commune from the Socialists we have organized the rehabilitation of the sewage system on two locations, near the school and below the Health Center, where the damages were the greatest. Unfortunately, we did not get a penny from the Republic for either this or any other project. The situation is alarming. There is a latent danger of cholera and the Executive Board was forced to declare the state of emergency in the public utilities sector which will last until we establish and overcome the main threats to population here. Therefore we have invited, among others, Mrs. Leposava Milicevic, Republican Health Minister to attend the session of the Communal Assembly of Tutin dedicated to the Information on the State of Health Care of the population of this commune. We regularly invite Dr.Zvonimir Stasevic, Director of the Health Center and until recently President of the Commune of Tutin, but until now he never showed up. I cannot understand that, at least as a doctor, he is not in the least interested in the health state of citizens whose Mayor he had been as recently as yesterday", - says Semsudin Kucevic, President of the Communal Assembly of Tutin and a delegate of the "List for Sanjak", which came into power in Tutin after the last year's elections.

    And what a confusion can the policy of continuous nationalism cause in a man's mind is best illustrated by an extremely morbid case which recently happened in the Health Center when a cook of Serbian nationality was caught urinating on a kettle with food prepared for the patients. Defending herself she said: "Believe me, this is the first time!" (!?) It should also be mentioned that the lady in question was adequately punished. She was transferred to another post - in that same institution.

    All economic potentials of the commune of Tutin are under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Serbia so that the commune is practically left without any income at all. During the Socialist reign, in nine months last year the Republican government donated 300,000 dinars from the Republican Supplementary Funds, while during the same period of this year it did not allocate a single penny. As of 1990 the forests, which the commune of Tutin is rich in, belong to the public enterprise "Srbijasume" from Belgrade which manages them through the forest estate from Raska, as a legal person, and the working unit "Sumarstvo" (Forestry) in Tutin. In this way the sales tax from forest felling goes to Raska. In recent years, during the sanctions, the livestock was also destroyed. According to some estimates, as much as 80 percent. It is worth mentioning that once the Swiss traders used to buy the Pester cheese and after processing it, sold it as an aphrodisiac. The Republican Government is avoiding any contact with the present communal authorities and when it decides to allocate funds, they are usually just symbolic.

    "The attitude of Belgrade towards present leadership is best illustrated by the most recent example when we offered a project for the development of regional road network in the value of 2 million dinars. First we were told that we were included in their plan, and in the end they approved the sum of 350 thousand dinars. That money can only cover the paving of a road of some 300 meters", - says Salih Hot, President of the Directorate for Construction Sites and Building.

    The communal authorities claim that in less than a year since the party of "The List for Sanjak - Dr.Sulejman Ugljanin" came into power in Tutin they achieved more than Socialist during previous ten years of their rule. It was all accomplished with a direct participation of citizens and private firms, and they are planning to hold a referendum regarding the introduction of a voluntary local self-financing scheme. However, former power holders from this commune and Belgrade are constantly obstructing the implementation of all planned projects. According to Semsudin Kucevic, probably the only communal president in Serbia without a passport, a USD 30 - 50 million line of credit was expected from the European Chamber of Commerce for the opening of several specialized farms, fish-ponds, two fruit processing factories and a green-house for peat-based production of healthy food. This was a joint project of the communes of Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin, but was stopped because of the introduction of emergency management in the commune of Novi Pazar.

    This summer the Socialists replaced the legally elected authorities in Novi Pazar and introduced emergency management. Also, the public regional enterprise for town planning, roads and landscaping "Sanjak" is obstructed in its work and, despite its legal registration, it is prevented from opening its own gyro account. This case is to be decided in court and, according to Kucevic, "will bring great damage to both this region and beyond it".

    Still, it seems that there is something in which the Belgrade regime treats the Bosniacs and the Serbs equally. The story of the local assembly reporter, Albin Gegic, irresistibly reminds of the "Djindjictrans scandal". Workers from these parts temporarily employed abroad wanted to present Tutin with two garbage trucks, two dumping trucks and one mechanical excavator. For over three months now the Foreign Trade Ministry refused to allow the import of these machines. On one occasion Vice-President of the commune of Tutin spent in Belgrade full seven days trying to locate Minister Vukovic. All that time the Ministry staff "did not know" the whereabouts of their Minister...

    The only bright coloured thing that could be spotted these days on the road leading from Tutin to Novi Pazar was a host of white forearm sleeves of the traffic cops.

    Enes DAZDAREVIC (AIM)