NDIA commences work in flood-prone area at Lowland
Residents of Lowland on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) have lauded the swift action by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to commence works on several drains and canals in the village in an effort to alleviate flooding in the area.
This comes days after residents met with Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and vented their concerns.
Immediately after the community outreach, an excavator was deployed to the area on Saturday last and works are currently ongoing. Once completed, hundreds of villagers stand to benefit from the approximately 2770 rods of drainage channels that will be cleared.
The ongoing works are being executed at an estimated cost of over $2.2 million and should be completed within the next three weeks.
Residents of Lowland expressed their satisfaction with the swift action of the Ministry to bring some level of relief to the community.
However, during the meeting, residents raised a number of issues with the Minister and his team, which included the need for works to be done on many drains and canals, rehabilitation work to the main roads and land allocations, as many persons are currently squatting.
The subject Minister immediately committed to having a machine deployed to the area to commence works as part of a complete upgrade to the community’s drainage system.
The machine is expected to remain in the area until all the works have been completed. The NDIA was also tasked with compiling a report detailing the extent of the works to be done in the area on a regular basis.
Minister Mustapha told the residents that the Government is looking at developing a plan to upgrade the country’s entire drainage system.
He noted that with climate change, rising sea levels and somewhat unpredictable weather patterns, the Government has begun the groundwork to ensure a comprehensive drainage and irrigation system is developed and introduced within the next five years.
“Guyana is below sea level so it is Government’s responsibility to put systems in place to safeguard the citizens of this country from the effects of flooding. This is why we have commenced working on a comprehensive plan to improve the country’s drainage system. I cannot disclose too much now, what I can say is that we will be installing more drainage pumps in these vulnerable areas, as well as scheduling maintenance works on these canals and drains. We know for a fact that prior to this Government taking office, things were done in a reactive manner. Only when there was flooding or during the rainy season then you would see works being done. As Minister of Agriculture, I will ensure agencies such as the NDIA are proactive. They will be guided by a clear work programme developed using both technical knowledge and stakeholder consultation. This is to ensure the needs of the persons set to benefit are considered,” Minister Mustapha said.
The subject Minister also said that Budget 2021 will set the foundation for the Government’s developmental agenda which will see a complete transformation to Guyana’s economy through investments in the country’s productive sectors.