NDIA dismisses comments made by Opposition M.P. over Reg. 3 pump stations

says other pump stations were visited on prior occasions; that works are progressing

Officials from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), have dismissed the recent comments made by Opposition Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul, about the construction of several pump stations in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).

Over the weekend, after attending several meetings with residents and farmers from Maria’s Lodge, and other surrounding communities in Region Three, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, along with a team of senior officers from the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), visited the location where the pump station is being constructed in Canal No. 1.

“I was in the region for several meetings with farmers and residents and decided to visit the Canal No. 1 pump station which was on my way back to Georgetown. When I go to these places I don’t just run in and run out. I speak with the team there and get as much information based on my observation and the guidance of my senior engineers. If something is off or seems behind schedule, I don’t leave until the contractor can provide me with a sensible and reasonable explanation. The other pump stations – I’ve visited those areas on several other occasions, not only in Region Three but in other parts of the country. So, this narrative that Mr. Mahipaul is trying to push is ridiculous and it seems as though he wants some publicity. As Minister, I’ve visited these areas on previous occasions and I’ve also met with the contractors to discuss the progress of these projects,” Minister Mustapha said.  

As it relates to the other pump stations mentioned, Minister Mustapha said that contrary to what Mr. Mahipaul said, progress is being made.

“At Belle Vue, the contractor has mobilized and already installed a coffer dam. The test piles have also been driven and this project is scheduled to be completed 4th of August, 2025. At Meter-Meer-Zorg, the contractor has commenced mobilization and this project is also scheduled to be completed on the 4th of August, 2025. At Pouderoyen, the contractor has mobilized to the site and has commenced work on the access road which is part of the contract. The procurement of long lead items under the project is also in progress. This project is scheduled to be completed on the 29th July 2025,” Minister Mustapha noted.  

Furthermore, Minister Mustapha rubbished Mr. Mahipaul’s conclusion that projects across the region languish in a state of abandonment and disrepair. This, he noted, was ludicrous on Mahipaul’s part.

Minister Mustapha also called on Mr. Mahipaul in his capacity as a Member of Parliament to comment on the neglect and incompetence of his political party who, while in government, procured pumps through an India Line of Credit that were not compliant with the contract specification.

“Mr. Mahipaul can try to discredit the work we are doing to improve the country’s drainage infrastructure all he wants. The fact of the matter is that under the watch of the former government, several pumps were procured which were ineffective costing taxpayers over US $3.6 million. They were not fit for the purpose and had all sorts of mechanical issues ranging from parts overheating, electrical problems with the control panel, alignment difficulties, leaking gearboxes, broken drive shafts, engine back pressuring, broken gears and gearboxes among others. The work we are doing now to improve drainage and irrigation across the country, they couldn’t even attempt to execute these projects. I want him (Mahipaul) to speak on that,” Minister Mustapha added.

Back in June 2018, the then A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government purchased a total of 12 pumps which it said were intended to assist with drainage and irrigation works across the country. However, even before the equipment could have been put to use, mechanical problems were detected.

After the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government assumed office in August 2020, it was found that the pumps were never fit for drainage and irrigation works. As a matter of fact, the engines are rated for fire pump application, Minister Mustapha said. The expensive pieces of equipment were undersized and could not have been used.