Onverwagt’s access road for major upgrade

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A section of the Onverwagt access road in Region 5, Mahaica-Berbice is to be upgraded to an asphaltic concrete structure by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) at a cost of $80M.

The road will be extended by 1.8kilometres from where it currently ends, up to the Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary Agriculture Development Authority (MMA/ADA) Irrigation Regulator Number 3 (IR 3).

A source at the Ministry of Agriculture disclosed that funding has been acquired for the main road into the backlands which is also referred to as the Number 27 Access Road. During the last rainy season, it had become impassable for rice farmers.

Bids will be invited from contractors this month, and following the opening and evaluation of tenders, a contract will be awarded for the work. It is intended that construction should start in April.

A three-kilometre stretch of the road also in asphaltic concrete had previously been done by the Agricultural Support Development Unit (ASDU) of the Ministry of Agriculture. This stretch ran from the MMA/ADA Mechanical Workshop going south close to IR3. In June 2018, farmers had complained about the lack of maintenance to a section of the road at Onverwagt. It had adversely affected the harvesting of rice. The farmers then called on the MMA to execute the maintenance.

In response to these complaints, General Manager of the MMA, Aubrey Charles pointed out that fact that the farmers had not been paying rates and taxes and that the MMA was cash-strapped to the extent that it did not have all the funds necessary for the maintenance of the drains, canals and access dams.

For 2018, he said, the MMA/ADA had collected $60M in payments of rates and taxes while the total rates due were $523M.

Story and Images: Clifford Stanley.

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