NDIA to commence works on clogged Windsor Forest canals tomorrow

– Agri. Ministry to work with Region to repair all-weather road
– dams to be repaired in time for paddy harvesting in March

Farmers from Windsor Forest on the West Coast Demerara will benefit from an almost immediate intervention, which will see a series of drainage works being undertaken from tomorrow.

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha visited the community today and met scores of farmers and residents to listen to their concerns and deliver some form relief. The meeting came after a group of farmers from the area met with the subject Minister at one of his ‘Farmer’s Open days’ and expressed dissatisfaction with the condition of a number of canals, roads and dams in the area.

During the meeting, Mr. Mohanlall Ranjit, a rice farmer, said that the current state of the dams is unsatisfactory. He further stated that the if something isn’t done, farmers wouldn’t be able to bring their paddy out after it is harvested in March 2021.

Mr. Nandram Pooran, another resident from the area, said that there was need for work to be done on one of the middle-walks. He also said that farmers would tamper with the structure to benefit themselves.

 “I’m from Harlem. My main concern is the middle-walk in Harlem. It is very shallow and we’re not getting the supply of the water. The next issue is the panel. The farmers are tampering with all them panels that gotta bring in the water to Harlem and Crane. Every time the water gotta come we way, the panel is blocked. So, we need the middle walk. That is the most important thing,” Mr. Pooran said.

Another farmer, Mr. Azeed Jaikaran, also aired his frustration with the condition of one of the dams.

“There’s a dam, Ruimzigt sideline dam which build to a part, I think about 100 meters, and they lift up the dam. It na got construction and from there the dam very bad. When I say bad, bad! You can’t walk barefoot deh. You go down deep, deep til to your knee so the dam really need to look after and this coming crop here will be even worse if you don’t do something,” Mr. Jaikaran said.

Mr. Anil Seecharan, a cattle farmer, said that there was need for some amount of work to be done on the pasture.

“We have a cow pasture at the back here. I think we need to see somehow, to get this cleaned because the cattle won’t stay in the pasture anymore. They will always be out and damage farms. If the cow pasture clean and you build back some dam inside, then the cattle would stay inside the pasture rainy time,” Mr. Seecharan said.

Residents also voiced their concern about the all-weather road and the wanton disposal of refuse.  Some residents alleged that persons residing in neighboring communities would visit the area during the evening hours and dump garbage alone side the road and in the backdam.

In response to this, Regional officials said addressing this matter was somewhat beyond the resources of the NDC office. The official added that persons, not necessarily from the area, would carry out these activities in the nights and that a holistic solution such as the development of a dumpsite in the area or nearby, is needed to address the issue.

Mr. Dave Rampersaud used the opportunity to express his dissatisfaction with a number of works done in the area.

“Me have a very serious problem. The soiling from the kokar break away since the 3rd of January. They bring a man fuh do some temporary work, but the temporary work is a shabby work. If you gonna do temporary work you gotta seal all sections so when rain fall or when there is overflow of the water, it cannot wash away. The concrete wall fall and leave inside the trench. If you gonna drive pile and drive plank, you had to take out that concrete structure. The kokar door, they give a man a contract; I don’t know who give the man contract. Every crease you gotta put cotton and put tar so it can keep in place. The man can’t get that problem solved up to now. Another thing, Mr. Minister, they build a cross street mussy about eight or ten feet. Actually, half mash up already because the man wuh do de work na build shoulder. He only build the head, he na build shoulder,” Mr. Rampersaud said.

In responding to the issues raised, Minister Mustapha said the Government was committed to addressing all the issues raised and that from tomorrow, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) will be deploying a machine to commence the works needed to bring some level relief to the farmers and residents.

“A machine will come here from tomorrow to dig all the canals that are clogged and build up the dams. I’ve asked the NDIA CEO to send in the machine to do all the canals and until those works are finished, the machines will not leave the area. I want the community to form a committee to look at these things so that they can give us updates on how these works are progressing. Every time you have to reap the crop, we will ensure that we repair the dams. I understand that by the first week in March people will start to reap their paddy so between now and March, we’ll repair the dams so that you will be able to bring out your paddy. Also, we will work with the Region on the road. The Region has a grader and we will provide the crusher-run and we’ll repair the all-weather road for you. The issue with the pasture, I’ve instructed officials from GLDA to come back and meet with you to so that we can work on a plan to develop the pastures,” Minister Mustapha said. The Minister also informed the gathering that an all-weather road will be constructed in the Region once the budget is passed within the coming weeks. He also advised officials from the NDC to put community policing mechanisms in place to apprehend persons caught dumping garbage in the area.

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