Italy Shutters Tiny Town's Landmark Migrant Model
Rome, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 14th Oct, 2018 ) :Italy's interior ministry ordered Saturday that all migrants be transferred out of a tiny southern town that had welcomed them but which triggered a national debate on integration after its mayor was arrested.
But earlier this month, he was placed under house arrest on charges of involvement in organising "marriages of convenience" for asylum purposes.
Known as Mimmo, the mayor has also been accused of skipping a tender process to award a rubbish management contract to co-operatives with ties to migrants.
But it sparked an outcry from supporters who say the "Riace model" -- funded since the 2000s with Italian and European funds -- is a simple but effective way to both revive depopulated villages and house hundreds of asylum seekers.
The transferral of the migrants to other centres will begin next week, according to the ministry, which has been investigating "clear irregularities" in the town's reception system since 2016.
The state gives small centres 35 Euros a day for each resident with the bulk of the money spent on providing accommodation, food and language lessons. A small amount of pocket money is also given to the migrants.
"How is it possible to think of destroying the 'Riace model', which has been described by innumerable people, politicians, intellectuals and artists, as an extraordinary experience?" he asked.
"They want to destroy us," he added.
"I am immensely bitter." His migrant programme has seen abandoned houses restored and craft workshops reopened in Riace, attracting tourists, and has been lauded by many as a model of integration.
Lucano was even named one of the 100 most influential personalities by Fortune magazine in 2016 and inspired a docu-fiction by Wim Wenders.