|Moonilal: OAS not to be blamed for Debe flooding |
By AZARD ALI Sunday, August 3 2014
RESIDENTS of Debe and parts of Penal breathed sighs of relief yesterday when employees of the Community-Based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) swung into action to help alleviate flooding due to heavy rains over the past three days.
By mid-afternoon yesterday, low-lying villages of Wellington Road were cleared of debris that had clogged drains. Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal toured the area yesterday along with CEPEP’s director Adesh Deonarine, Penal/ Debe Regional Corporation chairman, Premchan Sookhoo and the corporation’s Disaster Management Unit co-ordinator, Savistra Badal.
Moonilal responding to Highway Re-route Movement leader, Dr Wayne Kublalsingh’s contention that the flooding was as a direct result of the highway contractor, OAS, blocking the watercourses, said the accumulation of material along the highway, currently at the Debe to Mon Desir limb, was all part of the process of the highway construction. The sand and gravel were being utilised and cleared as construction work moved ahead, he said.
“It is artificial, not what Kublalsingh is making it out to be...as if OAS had deliberately blocked off the water courses,” he said.
The heavy rains on Friday especially, resulted in flooding along Wellington Road and the SS Erin main Road, Debe. Moonilal said various short-term measures had been put in place including remedial works at Wellington and Chester Streets, where a number of drains were being cleaned.
Moonilal, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, said long-term solutions were agreed upon, and consultation with Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh will take place this week for the cleaning and widening of the Cuchwan, Narissa and the SS Erin rivers.
“I will also ask OAS to clean a couple of sites where materials were loaded, just to ensure nothing is blocking the normal flow of the water,” said Moonilal.
He said about 15 to 20 people would be compensated for fridges and other appliances which were damaged by the flood waters. Affected persons are to fill out application forms for compensation at Moonilal’s constituency office tomorrow.