Jan 22, 2019 News
Residents of La Union, West Coast Demerara, are upset over the state in which heavy-duty trucks attached to a sea defence contractor has left one of their main access roads.
Over the past year, residents of the small community located just along the stretch of West Coast highway just outside Crane, have watched as the trucks transformed the once solid bitumen paved road into a pot- holed mud dam.
Ram Singh and his wife Pramie Singh are firsthand witnesses to the destruction of the road. The couple has been complaining bitterly about the problem.
“The road was paved with bitumen but after the trucks break it up, they throw sand and left it to fall apart,” the couple related.
The elderly couple explained the trucks have been utilizing the pathway in front their home to carry out river defence works.
But the road is not the only thing that is negatively impacted by the operation.
“Because the road is so bad now when the rain fall it get holes and then the sun come, it turn to dust again. It’s not just the condition of the road, the dust affecting us. When the wind blow the house is covered in dust from the road. All our food and everything is covered in dust, we can’t continue to live like this.”
Before the project commenced, Mrs. Singh recalled that officials from the construction firm visited their home to inform them about the impending work.
“Three officials came and they told me that they will have to do work with lots of big bricks and heavy duty trucks and so. They said that it was for the sea defence. I never thought it was such a massive project. These vehicles, long like train and they carry these huge boulders, so whenever they pass, the house shakes.”
“However when the officials visited us, they said that they took photographs of my house, the road and environment and so on. They told us that they were committed to repairing any damage done during the process of the time when they would pass with these things to do their work.
When they finish now, they said they were going to repair it or compensate us, and I took their word for granted. Now, the trucks break up the road and leave big holes… when the rain falls, it has pools of water in front my gap.”
Mrs. Singh said that she recently reached out to the contractor to remind them of their commitment.
“I called them at Leonora to complain about the road. I reminded them of the commitment they made to repair it and so on, but they told me that they don t have bitumen. Now I hear, they about to close off the sea defence project, so we are worried over what will happen to our road.
“As a citizen of Guyana I believe we have to make a certain amount of sacrifices, but we must have a certain amount of rights too. The contractor would not live in a condition like this. So why must he be allowed to put others through this? And we are taxpayers too,” the woman added.
Approximately fifteen households occupy the quiet rural community of La Union. Members of the community have approached the contractor before on the matter.
Residents like Ramesh Sugrim, the proprietor of a Shell Gas Station had initially held their peace on the issue because they believed the sea defence work was vital.
“We recognize the sea defence works must continue, but with billions of taxpayers’ dollars being spent on road projects each year, these contractors must not be allowed to destroy the roads like this,” Sugrim stated.
The frustrated businessman noted that on a daily basis, he collects at least two wheelbarrows of sand from around his service station.
“That‘s the amount of dust that blows in the atmosphere as a result of the work. It has even affected my eyes. I had to go to the clinic at Balwant Singh Hospital for treatment.”
“Our problem is that the contractor committed to repair road and so forth. They have a wealth of experience in road construction and access to material to fix the road. Why not fix it? Instead, they want to hog all the money and put sand on top the road. We understand that the sea defence is vital, but measures must be in place to alleviate what is taking place in the environment.”
“The engineer needs to visit the area, talk to the residents and fix the problem,” the businessman added.
Michael Sandy, the owner of a nearby snackette, told this publication that he has experienced notable difficulties plying his trade ever since the road was damaged. He noted that sand that the workers used to patch the road has led to significant erosion.
“The workers keep throwing sand to cover the holes, so as soon as a heavy breeze blows, it all over snackette and the house –it is affecting people’s lives and livelihood.”
“We have asked them to throw crush and run, but they throw sand. So when it blows, it affects my business.
Nothing can be left open, it is real uncomfortable; I am hoping that something can be done,” the man added.
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