NICOSIA - Greek Cypriots have complained that Turkish Cypriots are farming state land covering approximately 6,000 donums in the Pergamos-Pyla area on government subsidies.
According to reports, Turkish Cypriots are using the land to grow wheat and plant orchards, while some have fenced off pieces of land which they have claimed as their own.
Greek Cypriot residents of Pyla have reported that the Cypriot government has been subsidising the illegal farmers under the Cyprus Agricultural Payments Organisation (KOAP) for the last ten years.
Others have received state grants from European and national resources which exceed €17,000 annually, with the total amount from subsidies given to Turkish Cypriots in the area reaching €500,000 per year.
Local authorities in Pyla have brought the matter to the attention of the government, noting that the advances of these individuals are taking place at the expense of Greek Cypriot land, regardless of the fact that the area is under UN supervision.
Information which has been confirmed by Turkish Cypriot residents regarding plans to construct a road in the area has deepened concerns further.
The road is said to extend west of the village of Pergamos to the north-west of Pyla connecting the two villages with the occupied village of Arsos in Larnaca.
Members of the local council have expressed concern regarding the new project as the road will pass through land belonging to the Cypriot government, creating further problems.
They also pointed out that several houses which were built in the same area by Turkish Cypriots a few years ago were powered by the so-called Turkish Cypriot Electricity Authority which had intercepted power from the Cyprus Electricity Authority.
The residents have called on the government to demand that the UN remove the illegal farmers from the area, while the land could be given to the unemployed Cypriots who will participate in the agricultural training programme.