Fines for farmers a contentious issue

FARMERS may be fined by Sk5 million (€119,000) if they are found damaging the land, according to a law on the protection and use of agricultural land that will take effect in January 2004.

Radovan Kazda from the Conservative Institute think tank criticizes the law's provisions for lacking safeguards that would ensure the fines are issued fairly.

"The law does not include any criteria for which the fines are to be issued," Kazda said to the Slovak daily SME.

He also pointed out that the sanctions are in the hands of a single institution - the Agriculture Ministry - that makes the whole system liable to corruption.

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