By Humphrey Carter
PALMA City Council yesterday struck out at the very people who the local authority is supposed to represent, accusing that the public are being used as pawns in the “political battle” over excess noise and construction in and around the city. Instead of listening to the angry cries of Plaza de España residents who this week marched in protest over the noise and disruption caused by construction work on the railway, especially on Tuesday's bank holiday, city councillor for citizen safety, Alvaro Gijón, said yesterday that residents are being backed up by political opponents to the city council. Nevertheless, Alvaro Gijón was grilled during yesterday's council meeting about why railway and metro tunnelling work continued as usual on the bank holiday. This is the second time Gijon has come under the spotlight - at the end of September, the opposition demanded the council order the Local Police to make sure the restrictions on working hours, especially on bank holidays, are enforced and complied with. Gijon denies any wrong doing and suggested that opposition parties either ask the Balearic Minister for Public Works for a full explanation or seek legal advice. The United Left/Green coalition called on Gijon to resign if he is unable to accept responsibility and resolve the problem. While the socialists want a review of construction working hours in order to try and improve the living conditions of residents effected by the enormous and lengthy construction projects currently underway in Palma. Gijon claims that 15 investigations are currently underway into complaints received about building work and noise over the past three months. The controversial demolition of the Gaspar Bennázar-designed railway bridge was raised again during yesterday's meeting. The council was accused by the Majorcan Socialist Party of having “lied” about the railway tunnelling project. A results of the investigation into the cause of the tremors which caused structural damage to a Palma school near to where tunnelling work is being carried out are expected next week. The implications could be very serious for the city council if their explanation is found to be incorrect. The town hall claims that the cause may have been a controlled explosion at a mine to the north of Palma. Its initial claims that an earthquake in Algeria was to blame, have been discarded.


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