PALMA'S Municipal Police yesterday closed three more wasteland sites in rural areas where 3'100 vehicles for rent - 100 buses and 3'000 cars - were illegally parked. It was the latest move in the on-going dispute between car hire companies and the city council. José Blai, president of the Transcar association of car hire companies in the Balearics slammed the action by the police. Supported by a group of workers, Blai warned that the decision by the council to impound these grounds and others closeby, without offering any alternative endangers the jobs of 300 people. “They're doing something rather silly without taking into account the consequences” said Blai, “because this is tantamount to playing with people's livelihoods”. At the end of last year, the city council took out 27 separate legal proceedings for closure of rural land where cars were being illegally parked. So far eight have been closed. Blai said that he failed to understand that as (according to the Majorcan Chamber of Commerce) there are 200 companies unofficially using terrain in rural areas in the municipality of Palma and 800 throughout Majorca. “Why don't the authorities handle all cases in the same way. Partisan treatment could create a dangerous precedent of injustice towards the member companies of Transcar,” he said. Yesterday morning, Transcar lodged two judicial complaints with the Palma city hall authorities, Friday will see the paperwork concluded for another five. Blai said that either the city council close all rural land where vehicles for hire are being parked “or they close none because otherwise it is a perversion of the course of justice”. Although the president of Transcar asked for an interview ten days ago with the mayor of Palma, Catalina Cirer, “we have been told that the new authorities due to set up office at the Town Hall following last month's elections are not yet in a position to seek solutions, but they are - it would seem - well enough settled in to make land closures”, complained Blai. The director of Transcar said that “not one company” involved in vehicle hire in the Balearics can depend on officially recognized ground to store their fleets of vehicles, because it is not logistically feasible that space could be found for parking such numbers in developed urban areas. He insisted that all the companies who form part of the corporate body of Transcar are “absolutely legal” as they have complied with all administrative requirements and paid all taxes.

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