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Protests over clogged drain in Penal

Saturday, August 11, 2018
Protesting residents of Penal / Quinam Road, Penal, who are calling for the watercourses and tributaries in their community to be clean. Photo by:Kristian De Silva

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Faced with frequent flooding, residents of Penal/Quinam Road yesterday staged a placard protest asking Works Minister Rohan Sinanan to immediately assist local contractors in cleaning all rivers and tributaries surrounding their homes.

Two contractors—RBMR Construction Company Limited and Jaggessar Group of Companies—have been doing the voluntary clearing of rivers since the beginning of this week, after flood waters rose in the area.

Having faced thousands of dollars in losses during floods last year, the residents took matters in their own hands and began cleaning the community themselves.

However, Denise Jagmohan said it may take months to get the job complete if the Ministry did not intervene and provide assistance as soon as possible.

Standing next to a clogged river at Anthony Trace, Jagmohan said the watercourses were so clogged that the water was stagnating causing rats, snakes, centipedes and mosquitoes to invade their homes.

“We are fed up of this. It’s been three years since these rivers were cleaned and look at the condition of it. It is no wonder that our children are falling ill. We want the government to help these private contractors to clean every watercourse. We have received no help from the government and it is very unfair to us,” Jagmohan said.

She added that some rivers were cleaned by the Ministry of Works but the majority of water courses at Quinam were in dire need of dredging.

Narace Samaroo who lives close by said the Carampo River was clogged with fallen trees and silt.

“I want the Minister to pay us a visit so he can experience first hand the problems that we go through. We know what extensive flooding is like here and we are trying our best to protect our homes but we want some assistance from the government,” Samaroo said.

Owner of RBMP Construction Company Rakesh Mohan Bajnath said he felt sorry for the residents and decided to assist. He said excavators were lying idle on the Ministry of Work’s compound and instead should be mobilized to clean watercourses in the Southland.

Councillor for Penal Shanty Boodram said the contractors had committed to clearing tributaries at Moolai Trace, Anthony Branch Trace, Jaimungal Trace and Station Road 10.

However, she said there were several other areas such as Mathura Avenue, Sunrees Road, Naipalia Trace, Goodman Trace and Lachoos Road which were in dire need of cleaning.

She said the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation did not have the resources to clean all the area but noted that they needed the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Local Government to assist.

Minister Rohan Sinanan could not be reached on his cellular phone yesterday as calls went unanswered. He did not respond to Whatsapp messages.


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