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Lock up mayors over illegal building says Pichetto

Comment blasted as 'unacceptable' by ANCI Chief Decaro

(ANSA) - ROME, NOV 28 - Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin caused controversy on Monday by suggesting mayors should be penalized for illegal building work after the deadly Ischia landslide shone the spotlight on the problem.
    "Putting the mayor and all those who allow it in prison would suffice (to stop the illegal building in Italy)," the minister told Rtl 102.5 radio.
    "The mayors should not let them built (illegal property)".
    The comment caused an instant backlash, with Bari Mayor Antonio Decaro, the president of the Italian association of local authorities (ANCI), leading the criticism.
    "Minister Pichetto Fratin's comment on the Ischia tragedy, while the search continues for the missing and the victims are still being counted, is an act of unacceptable vulgarity and it denotes serious ignorance of the subject," Decaro said.
    "We are sure that it is not the position of the government on the long-standing and dramatic issue of hydrogeological instability".
    Pichetto's cabinet colleague, Civil Protection and Sea Policies Minister Nello Musumeci, distanced himself from the comment.
    "It is necessary to make sure the State is constantly at the side of the mayors because criminal organizations are frequently behind illegal construction," said former Sicily Governor Musumeci, adding that Pichetto's words may have been misinterpreted. (ANSA).


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