Magazine article New Internationalist

Undermined: Czech Town Demolished to Guard against Robbery (Libkovice)

Magazine article New Internationalist

Undermined: Czech Town Demolished to Guard against Robbery (Libkovice)

Article excerpt

OVER half the electricity in the Czech Republic is generated by coal - fired power stations. They are located in Northern Bohemia where high sulphur - content 'brown coal' is mined using both underground and open - cast methods. Communist policy for the industry was to 'liquidate' towns and villages situated above deposits - 112 settlements have already been destroyed. The Hlubina State Mining Enterprise, recently denationalized, exports half its coal to Germany. The company is keen to continue its cheap, outdated production methods - environmental controls are viewed as a hindrance to competition with the West.

Now environmentalists are fighting to save the historic town of Libkovice, which the company began to demolish two years ago. Jan Pinos of the Rainbow Movement, who was assaulted by demolition workers last September, has been trying to push the idea of using modern shoring techniques which allow undermining without subsidence and damage to buildings.

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In December 1993 the Czech Public Prosecutor stepped in and halted the destruction on a legal technicality. The 11 remaining inhabitants stuck it out without water and electricity while their town was being bulldozed around them. …

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