THE Balearic Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will, between this year and next, help restore 191 rural paths owned by councils throughout the islands, within the scope of the first phase of a project started by the Government for this purpose. The budget is 12.3 million euros. The Minister, Margalida Moner, explained during a press conference that the improvements will consist basically in the asphalting or re-asphalting of these paths, which are 314 kilometres in total length. A grant has been given to all the projects which have complied with the requisites (a total of 203) and only 12 had been rejected because they were not rural paths or because they were wider than the five metres stipulated, she said. The grants given by the Ministry will finance between 50 and 75 percent of the total budget for the work, using a distribution system which will give more help to smaller towns. Moner expressed her satisfaction with the success of the first round of grants which had been applied for by 52 towns (42 on Majorca, 6 on Minorca and 4 on Ibiza). She also said that, in view of the great demand she had decided to raise the initial budget of 8 million to 12 million, which will be distributed over two years: 7 million in 2006 and 5 million in 2007. The secretary general of the Ministry, Lorenzo Rigo, made it clear that the works will be put out to tender and executed by the councils, who own the paths.