Toma Belev, in his capacity of Deputy Minister of Ecology, received the power to manipulate any project for development of tourism in nature and block whole territories under the pretext that they must be conserved. For the first time the goals of WWF are becoming national policy which robs whole regions of their opportunities for modernization and aims to cancel vitally important infrastructural projects.
The management plan of Balgarka Park approved by the Council of Ministers on 30 December 2021 forced Gabrovo Municipality to rise against the next attempt at green terror. According to the opinion of the Municipality, the plan is “in breach of the principles for planning laid down in the Regional Development Act and its implementing rules.”
In essence, the implementation of the plan, awarded to the consortium of Balgarka 2013 Alliance with a contract for BGN 533 000, has been entrusted to three companies. One of them is WWF – World Wildlife Fund, Danube-Carpathian Programme – Bulgaria. This company has lodged an appeal at the High Administrative Court against the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the implementation of the project for construction of a Gabrovo bypass and a tunnel under Shipka.
The Bulgarian Black Sea Association has appealed the plan in front of the HAC in another attempt to stop the construction of the tunnel and in support of the obvious goal to stop the development of tourism in Gabrovo and Tryavna.
It was not a coincidence that the ex-director of Balgarka Park, Maya Radeva, awarded the development of the park’s management plan to the consortium of Balgarka 2013 Alliance headed by Toma Belev. The Wildlife Fund, on the other hand, is under the management of Belev’s wife, Veselina Kavrakova.
When Toma Belev presented the park’s management plan in 2015, the document was returned for improvement, because the texts did not clarify what was allowed and where. One thing was clear: Belev’s consortium did not want a tunnel or a Gabrovo bypass. As a result of the protest of Gabrovo Municipality the authors of the plan explained that they could introduce the corrections, but they would not commit to revising the document.
Currently Toma Belev is Deputy Minister of Environment, while Maya Radeva, who awarded the project to his consortium, is the director of Veliko Tarnovo Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water.
The situation is highly reminiscent of the story of Baron Munchausen who, surrounded by bears, exclaimed “A bear in front of me and a bear behind me!” But this time Gabrovo municipality is in the middle and Belev and Radeva are ready to attack.