Jul 26, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – During a meeting with residents of Plegt Anker, on the East Bank of Berbice on Saturday last, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha instructed the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to withhold payments to contractors who have failed to complete works in the village.
This decision was made after several residents raised concerns about incomplete works that were carried out in the community. They told the Minister that only a small percentage of the works were carried out and that when they questioned the contractor, they were told that the conditions were not favourable to complete the projects at hand.
One farmer who was present at the meeting told the Minister that one of the reasons he experienced severe losses during the flooding was due to the fact that the canal in his area had not been desilted. Another resident who raised a similar issue said that water levels would have receded if works were carried out on the canal.
After listening to the concerns raised, Minister Mustapha instructed the NDIA to put a hold on payments for works that were incomplete, adding that contractors should not tender for works that they cannot execute.
Another farmer who was present at the meeting also raised issues with the state of the crown dam.
“The conservancy dam at the back, the Belmont Canal is linked to the conservancy dam where a tubing was installed but the dam needs to be rehabilitated. About three years ago, they ended up patching the dam but then that didn’t solve the problem because when the heavy rain comes, the lower part keeps overtopping and it has big breaches. Right now, it has about five breaches there now. When the water comes and cannot pass through the Belmont Canal, it overtops and goes to our side in the farming area,” the farmer said.
Minister Mustapha then told residents that a machine would be sent to carry out the necessary rehabilitation works on the crown dam.
“I want to make one commitment here. Within one week, I will send a machine here to carry out all the works on the crown dam,” Minister Mustapha told residents.
Residents also formed a group comprising of representatives from each of the communities in the area. Minister Mustapha tasked the group with consulting with residents from their respective communities on the works needed. A work programme would then be developed so that funds could be made available to execute them based on what is considered a priority.
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