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The Mekelle city Administration revealed that it has taken about 400 plots of land
and placed it into the city’s land bank over the last two years.
According to Kidun Hailezgi, General Manager and Deputy Mayor of Mekelle City Administration, the plot was taken back from investors who didn’t start their activities at the stipulated time and were engaged in rent seeking activities such as cornering the given plot and leaving it idle for a long time in order to sell it at a much higher price later on.
The plot was confiscated as part of the Meklle city Administration’s plans put into action at the end of the 2009/10 fiscal year whereby it monitors on a performance basis the status of plots and ways in which it can help speed up construction on those plots where investment is currently underway.
Kidun said those who have started construction but have had their works lag behind because of shortages of cement and metal needed for construction in addition to them being provided with these materials have been provided a forum with the city administration and its population on the way forward with the lagging projects.
However, he admitted that Mekelle’s distance from Addis Ababa, 783 Km North of it, poses a problem of market availability for Mekelle and its environs’ products. This however, he said is currently being solved with the construction of a Mekelle-Afar-Djibouti asphalt road project to help make the products more readily available to export markets.
An Agreement has also been reached whereby the Mekelle Alula Aba Nega International Airport can have direct flights that send cargo to export destinations, especially perishable goods like flowers and meat products. In addition, a railway line stretching from Mekelle city to the Port of Djibouti is being planned and is expected to begin construction before the end of the GTP period in 2015.
Another problem Kidun mentioned is land invasion which he said is especially severe in the peripheral areas of Mekelle city. In the future those areas are supposed to be incorporated by Mekelle, according to the city’s master plan.
The city has in this regard done some demolishing of illegal structures and taken back plot from those who illegally took hold of land from the area.
Mekelle city Administration estimates that currently there are about 280,000 people living in the metropolitan area, which is three times the numbers from twenty years ago