Thanks to investments in infrastructure according to plans, the modernisation of devastated old industrial zones and, primarily, the opening of Miloš the Great Highway and the high-speed Nepričava-Valjevo road link, Mionica has the lowest unemployment rate in the Kolubara district, while the goal is for it to be even lower
“Mionica is a among the most developed municipalities in Serbia and is due to enter the society of the best in a few years. Moreover, my desire is for us to be an example of how a small local government can progress from being among the least developed to the most developed,” says an optimistic Mr Boban Janković.
This year marks five years since you took over the helm of the municipality. Everything you’ve done has been done, as you once said, “at 200 per cent”. Was that enough? Are you happy with the performance?
We have certainly worked. We have certainly done a lot, but I’m among those people who think that they can always do better. I am satisfied, but I wish we could have done more than this. The fact is that my team, with the great support of the Government of Serbia, has done plenty in terms of improving the lives of citizens, and we intend to do as much as possible by the end of the mandate next year.
When we set goals, we knew where we wanted to see Mionica in the period ahead, so we set a deadline for that period and undertake everything that leads us towards that.
You stated recently that your goal is to ensure the same living conditions in the town and in the countryside in your municipality, which is small in terms of population but large in terms of territory. Is that feasible?
Our progress is largely linked to Miloš the Great Highway and the high-speed Nepričava-Valjevo road link. People have been moving away from our municipality en masse since 1998, when we were struck by a horrific earthquake. Young, promising and educated people left because they could no longer connect their future and their existence to their homeland, and that is something we are endeavouring to change; to create conditions for them to have a normal life, working conditions and a salary that can motivate them to return.
Everything we’ve done has been carried out in a planned way and on the basis of the expressed desires and needs of the citizens, who stated their priorities in a public opinion survey
Over the last few years we’ve worked intensively to ensure living conditions in our municipality are as good as possible, to lead people to conclude that there’s no reason to suffer in the traffic congestion and pollution of major cities when they can find here everything that a major city provides them – good roads, electricity , water, work, cultural and sporting facilities, facilities for children, but even more than that. Here we have unpolluted nature, healthy water, healthy food, a peaceful life etc.
You planned to provide water to every village, high-quality roads and a sufficient number of jobs by the end of your term in 2021. Is that right?
We’ve done a lot in the previous period in terms of the quality of electricity supplies, and every village on the territory of the municipality will have its own water supply by the end of 2021. Everything we’ve done has been carried out in a planned way and on the basis of the expressed desires and needs of the citizens, who stated their priorities in a public opinion survey conducted on the territory of the municipality. Ranked in first place was securing their existence, i.e. job security, while water supply was ranked second and in third place came roads.
Our villages are burdened by two problems – small estates of an average of two and a half to three hectares and outdated mechanization – which ensures that no household can live from agriculture. It’s for this reason that we are focused on the industrialisation of one part of Mionica, and our goal is to provide a regular salary to one member of each household through the creation of new jobs. That would guarantee them security, while engaging in agriculture would provide for additional quality of life.
This year we’ll continue the programme of distributing polytunnel greenhouses and educating the population about organic production on a larger scale
When it comes to production, our goal shouldn’t be sales of primary agricultural products, but rather the opening of processing capacities. Mionica needs a large, modern dairy and a large plant for processing poultry. If we managed to achieve that we would be able to increase incomes, employ people and profit from the processing of our agricultural products, instead of leaving that income for someone else to earn.
Organic production represents a great potential of our municipality, due to its geographical position and healthy environment. In this regard, through a pilot project last year we distributed 20 polytunnel greenhouses for organic production to small producers, mostly young people. They trade their produce on the local market, supplying hoteliers and hospitality facilities, and if they expand their capacities they will have enough produce for Belgrade, which is just 45 minutes away. This year we’ll continue the programme of distributing polytunnel greenhouses and educating the population about organic production on a larger scale.
You are building a new industrial zone that should help you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the most developed municipalities in Serbia, from the fourth development group. When can this be expected?
A local law on the construction of a new industrial zone was passed this year, and it will change the complete picture of the municipality and enable it to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the most developed municipalities in Serbia, from the fourth development group.
Until six years ago we had just one devastated and practically unusable industrial zone, which we revamped and made operational, and we are now working on the opening of a new one. It will be located just a kilometre and a half from the high-speed Nepričava-Valjevo road link and we should open it in November this year. The new industrial zone will change the complete picture of the municipality…
You have three letters of intent from major companies operating in the auto and agricultural processing industries. How serious are their intentions?
We currently have three letters of intent from large companies in the automotive sector that are interested in starting or expanding their production right here in our municipality. These are companies that are linked to the automotive industry and the production of refrigeration equipment.
Their opening will create conditions for employment, not only for the people of Mionica, but also for citizens of Valjevo and other municipalities, in the case that there are insufficient workers available on our labour market. Our goal is for both highly educated and qualified workers to be hired, and we are here, as a municipality, to provide them with personnel of sufficient quality, either from the employment bureau or through retraining and additional training.
Where are the greatest economic potentials of your municipality, besides tourism?
Our investment in the further development of infrastructure, which is a prerequisite for the revival of economic and agricultural activities, is at the fore. Tourism is currently dependent exclusively on Banja Vrujci spa and Divčibare mountain resort, but we can offer much more than that. Through tourism we can interconnect and improve all branches of the economy, but also agriculture.
Our chance is organic production, pristine nature, water that’s among the best quality in Serbia, excellent roads and close proximity to Belgrade, while people still represent our greatest wealth and potential. Industrious people, hosts who love their families and their region, and who fight for the progress of their loved ones and their homeland.