A decision reached yesterday by the recently appointed culture minister Lydia Koniordou to hire 2,338 individuals for archaeological services, at the main power utility PPC’s expense, has raised concerns.
Just days earlier, PPC’s administration decided to allot 1.5 million euros in 2017 for archaeological work.
PPC’s need to pay for archaeological services is not unprecedented as many of the utility’s coal mines are located in regions that have been classified as sites of historical interest by archaeological authorities. As a result, PPC has no choice but to cover the cost of archaeological excavation work required before mining work can be endorsed by archaeological authorities.
Legal framework was ratified in 2002 requiring all enterprises to cover the full cost of related excavation work when carrying out projects at locations deemed as ones of archaeological interest.
PPC has needed to pay over 60 million euros in archaeological service costs over the past twelve years. The Kozani antiquities ephorate, which, like all the country’s regional ephorates, is headed by the culture ministry, has received 20 million of this 60 million-euro amount. Overseeing the archaeological interests of another part of northern Greece, the Florina antiquities ephorate is believed to have collected over 40 million euros of the 60 million-euro amount.
In 2016, alone, PPC allotted 4.7 million euros for archaeological work in the Florina area.
Given the troubled utility’s poor financial standing, demands by archaeological authorities for hefty fees have raised concerns. PPC has made a requested for more reasonable charges.
The culture minister’s decision yesterday will lead to a host of hirings, including 1,840 workers, 319 archaeologists, architects, civil engineers, preservationists, land surveyors and guards. It is believed these 2,338 jobs will be based on temporary contracts with durations covering the needs of projects. PPC has raised questions over the culture ministry decision’s timing and content.
The utility questions whether all these hirings will actually be made. However, the culture ministry insists they will so as to enable the swift progress of projects.