The recent remarks by Ganesh Singh in his letters titled `Where does the PPP find these people?’ dated July 7, 2010 (KN) and `Minister of Agri. announcement troubling’ dated July 10, 2010 (KN) are both fallacious and misguided.
In his first letter of July 7, he states that Minister of Agriculture Robert M. Persaud and the CEO (ag.), NDIA, Mr. Lionel Wordsworth “only pretend to react when the damage is done”. He was at the time referring to the recent flooding in the Grove/Diamond area.
For the record, Mr. Singh, an immediate on the ground assessment was done by both parties inclusive of other technical personnel after which a mobile pump was deployed to supplement the discharge capacity of the Grove sluice and an excavator was mobilized to carry out urgent works to lift an earthen dam which was removed by residents and overtopped during the heavy rainfall. It is no secret that these areas experienced in excess of five (5) inches of rainfall when the existing drainage infrastructure can only take off 1.5 inches of rainfall in a twenty-four hour period. However, due to the interventions made, water in low lying yards is quickly receding.
Areas in and around the East Bank of Demerara area inclusive of Grove/Diamond have been benefitting significantly from a number of interventions which are part of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority’s (NDIA) master plan to alleviate flooding in vulnerable areas. In preparation for the rainy season, drainage works were completed at Mocha to assist farmers and excavation of outfalls channels were completed at Little Diamond, Herstelling and Garden of Eden.
The NDIA is currently excavating critical canals in Kaneville, East Bank Demerara and Alliance, Timehri while two tubes were installed at Kaneville along with a self acting door. A tractor pump was installed at Craig and excavation works are taking place at McArthur. An excavator has also been deployed to clear a canal at New Hope then would move to Craig. Is this pretending to react, Mr. Singh, when farmers and residents have lauded the various interventions of the Ministry of Agriculture’s NDIA?
It is good that Mr. Singh has acknowledged that climate change is responsible for weather conditions we are experiencing today. I hope that he also recognizes that for Guyana to adapt to climate change it needs significant sums of money.
With regard to Mr. Singh’s call for a central emergency unit, I wish to inform him that the NDIA acts as the central emergency unit which has its sister agency, the Hydrometeorological Office, which feeds it with relevant information on a daily basis with regard to weather conditions.
The NDIA then acts on this information. Since the advent of these weather conditions, the NDIA and Hydromet services had alerted residents and farmers by placing various advertisements in the media. The NDIA had also continued its work programme in preparation for these conditions. Critical canals were excavated and mobile drainage pumps were installed in vulnerable areas. Excavation of outfall channels were carried out along with the community drainage and irrigation workers desilting drains and canals in residential areas.
With regard to the blockage of drains in the city, the NDIA wishes to inform Mr. Singh that this is the responsibility of the Mayor and City Council. However, from time to time the NDIA would step in and make necessary interventions.
In the second letter of July 10, Mr. Singh is mischievous by saying that the Minister’s announcement to drain the East Demerara Water Conservancy (EDWC) through the Demerara River contributed to the recent flooding in the Grove/Diamond area rather than accepting that the area experienced a high level of rainfall. Mr. Singh is writing clearly from a perception of having little or no knowledge of the drainage systems and how the EDWC operates since the EDWC’s design allows for three outlets to drain into the Demerara River. The NDIA is working assiduously to ensure that these outlets work efficiently since it would alleviate the use of other outlets which drain into the Mahaica and Mahaicony Creeks which could result in flooding.
On further analysis, it would seem that Mr. Singh is seeking cheap publicity or has been motivated politically by making these comments. The NDIA in preparing for the rains has made numerous interventions to improve the drainage systems.
In Region Two, most of the outfall channels were cleared. Across the coast, through the Region’s capital programme, drainage and irrigation structures are being built while desilting is presently taking place at C1/C6 and Good Hope areas.
In Region Three, outfall channels were cleared and excavated at Windsor Forest, Canal No.1, Canal No.2, A-Line, Schoonord, Vreed-en-Hoop, Bell Vue, Wales, Patentia, Sanbatch, Potosi, Ryntein, VL-Sluice and La Rensio. Rehabilitation works were carried out at Hubu, Vergenoegen, Parika and Tuschen while remedial works were completed at Boerasirie. Sluice doors at Windsor Forest and Hague were replaced and a new drainage structure at Amersfoort, Wakenaam was completed.
In Region Four, outfall channels were cleared at Greenfield, Hope, Belfield, Victoria, and Golden Grove. The machine is presently at Buxton. Dredging of pump basins at Triumph, Strathspey, Enmore and an inlet channel at Greenfield was also undertaken. New sluice doors were installed at Greenfield while rehabilitation of the crown dam from Hope to Greenfield and three intake structures were completed.
In Region Five, the NDIA has embarked on raising flood embankments in the Mahaica and Mahaicony Creeks and empoldering of critical areas. Heightening of the right and left flood embankment of the Mahaica Creek is ongoing. Empoldering is ongoing at Little Biabu and a new drainage structure was completed at Jeenarine Canal.
In Region Six, all outfalls have been desilted while mobile pumps were deployed at Whim, Liverpool, Crabwood Creek, No.43 and Eversham. Excavation works were completed at Black Bush Polder, Yakusari, New Forest and Bushlot. In Region Ten, under NDIA’s 2010 works programme, drainage structures would be built at West Watooka, Wismar Hill, lower Kara Kara and Wismar Hill. Drainage structures have been completed at Blue Berry Hill.
With regard to the areas mentioned by Mr. Singh, the NDIA is monitoring those closely as well as other vulnerable areas on the East Coast of Demerara.
Mr. Singh could also make himself available to be updated on a number of developmental projects carried out by the NDIA inclusive of the construction of a sluice at Cottage, Mahaicony, Region Five, four completed sluices at Moleson Creek, Region Six, the installation of pumps at Greenfield, Region Four, reactivation of sluices at Cozier and Anna Regina, Region Two and the soon to be commenced construction of the Hope canal, Region Four.
The Authority will continue its aggressive programme for the present rainy season to ensure that the livelihood of residents and farmers are protected.