Extensive D&I planned for Lowlands next week
-Minister Mustapha tells residents at outreach
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha on Wednesday assured residents and farmers of Lowlands, East Coast Demerara that flooding would no longer be a hindrance in the village as a series of extensive drainage and irrigation work would start there next week.
The Minister made this announcement during an outreach to the community. He said early next week an excavator would be dispatched to the area to start cleaning the drainage channel there.
The commitment follows complaints by Mr. Ganesh Gidhari and Pandit Chamanlall Bhagwandeen about the challenges flooding has presented to the community.
Initially, Mr. Gidhari had pleaded for the blocked drains to be cleared immediately, noting that it has been the cause of major flooding in the area for years, causing residents to fear for their health.
Mr. Gidhari’s neighbour, Pandit Bhagwandeen said, “when we walk around our village, especially on the southern side, the drain and culvert are so clogged up with bushes and when it rains the water has nowhere to run off. Now when this happens, it affects not only the crop of livestock farmers living close by, but it’s also very dangerous for our children.”
Pandit Bhagwandeen, who is also Vice Chairman of the Community Development Council, said community members would sometimes help clean, but they were hamstrung without equipment.
Another resident, Ms. Kamala Gulsohan highlighted other pressing issues and requested that the main access road be rehabilitated.
While noting that all the issues could not be remedied at once, Minister Mustapha pledged to write his Cabinet colleagues on matters pertaining to their sectors and ask them to visit the area to get a first-hand look at the challenges there. He said the PPP/C Government Ministers were given strict instructions from President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali to meet and serve the people at the grassroot level.
“As a Government, we have a mandate because based on the policies that we went to our campaign with, the people have voted and put us here to manage the affairs of the country and because of that, they expect us to be in the community to address their issues.”
The Minister also encouraged farmers to work together moving forward and to be more proactive in their approach for assistance.
“If you have a housing problem or any other problem you must be able to pick up the phone and call the Minister directly or the Ministry, we don’t have a choice but to serve. Our President, your President, has given strict orders,” Minister Mustapha stated.
The Minister has instructed the residents to examine the work that will begin next week, and to ensure that it is completed to their satisfaction. The excavator, he noted, will not leave the area until the project is completed. He also presented the residents with a telephone number to call to report any concerns about the work.
The Agriculture Ministry’s Director-General, Mr. Madanlall Ramraj, and other senior and technical officers from various agriculture agencies also attended the outreach.