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AGPI firm approves transfer of Lety pig farm to Czech state

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Vrcovice, South Bohemia, July 31 (CTK) – The AGPI firm’s general meeting gave consent to the transfer of a pig farm in Lety, south Bohemia, situated at the site of a former Nazi internment camp for the Roma, to the Czech state on Monday, CTK has found out at the general meeting.

The firm did not release the purchasing price for the farm. It says the negotiations with the government on the purchase are in a classified regime.

AGPI board deputy chairman Jan Cech told CTK that the result would depend on the conditions offered by the state. AGPI will release the sum if it makes an agreement with the government.

The state did not release the purchasing price either.

“The talks continue. The order is in a discreet regime in view of the partners involved,” Culture Ministry spokeswoman Simona Cigankova told CTK on Monday.

The ministry was assigned to secure an expert opinion on the pricing of the pig farm. The winning firm worked it out for 228,690 crowns, including VAT. The government used the expert opinion in further talks with the farm’s owner.

Some 20 shareholders took part in the general meeting. A crushing majority of them voted for the transfer of the Lety farm.

The firm says in its resolution that the talks about the situation of the pig farm at the site of a former Roma camp have lasted for 20 years and that the government declares a priority interest in its removal.

“All depends on the particular offer which has not been made yet,” the firm’s management said.

The management presented its idea of the purchasing price to the ministers, Cech said at the general meeting.

The government has two expert opinions about the estimated price of the complex, he added.

AGPI has a study worked out about the costs of the construction of a new pig farm complex.

In reaction to a shareholder’s question, Cech said the Museum of the Roma Culture or the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs might buy the pig farm.

“The government has a serious interest in solving the matter. No other government has gone so far in its proposals. However, we have neither the price nor conditions yet,” Cech told the general meeting.

He stressed that the firm would transfer the complex on a 7.1-hectare, which includes 13 halls with 13,000 pigs in total, to the state without the farm animals and employees.

“If it happened, we must sell the animals. The goal is to sell all in the complex,” Cech told the shareholders.

The removal of the pig farm from Lety would not affect the village directly since there are not many jobs in the facility, its mayor Miroslava Kuchtova said.

“It rather seems to us as wasting tax-payers’ money since we all will pay it eventually, which is a negative aspect of the deal,” Kuchtova told CTK.

The Lety pig farm was being built from 1972. The firm installed new technologies in a half of the halls in 2013-2015. “Experts have admitted that the halls are in a good shape and that we can use them for further 60 years. The state did not sell the plots under the buildings, it kept them preventively,” Cech said.

Several Czech governments have dealt with the problem.

The caretaker government of Josef Tosovsky was the first to address AGPI over the farm in 1998. The state tried to blackmail the firm in 2006, Cech said. “We used to have up to three checks a day in Lety,” he said, adding that Roma activists were blocking the entry to the AGPI seat in Vrcovice and the pig farm several times.

The government of Jiri Paroubek (CSSD, 2005-2006) was negotiating about purchasing the farm. The following cabinet of Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS, 2006-2009) planned it as well, but the plan was scrapped due to a financial crisis.

The current government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) has been negotiating with the pig farm’s owner since January 2015. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) said previously his cabinet would like to complete the negotiations.

The labour camp in Lety was opened in 1940. A similar facility existed in Hodonin u Kunstatu, south Moravia. In 1942, both facilities turned into internment camps and in August of the same year, Romany camps were established there.

Until May 1943, 1308 Roma men, women and children were interned there, 327 of whom perished in the camp and over 500 were sent to the extermination camp in Auschwitz where most of them died. According to estimates, the Nazis murdered 90 percent of Czech Roma people.

Roma organisations have been striving for the pig farm’s relocation for years. The European Parliament (EP) as well as other international organisations have called on the Czech Republic repeatedly to remove the farm from the commemorative site.

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