Residents of the Zeelugt New Housing Scheme, East Bank Essequibo are calling for immediate works to be done to the roads in the community.
The residents say the roads in the Region Three community have been in a deplorable state for approximately seven years and their attempts to have them fixed have proved futile.
Vishal Ambedkar, the chairman of the Tuschen/Uitvlugt Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) which covers the Zeelugt area, told Stabroek News that the NDC is not responsible for the maintenance of the roads as the scheme has not yet been handed over to it. He stated that the Ministry of Communities is responsible for the roads.
“Even though we are not responsible for the road we are trying to do what we can with the limited resources that we have” Ambedkar further said, adding that they have arranged to have a small excavator go into the community and have some work done. He stated that roads in other communities such as Tuschen are also in a terrible state and they have made contact with the Ministry for help for that community.
During a visit by Stabroek News last week to Zeelugt, taxi drivers complained about the state of the roads and the many ways it affects their trade and the residents living in the scheme. One driver who gave his name as Louis stated that they have complained many times to the NDC and the Regional Democratic Council. Louis stated when they make their reports they would always get one response. “The scheme aint hand over to the NDC, so the NDC can’t do nothing”, he said.
Nothing has been done about the roads and residents who are building their homes experience problems transporting materials. The drivers stated that as they motor through the slush it would soil their vehicles and they would have to pay daily to have their vehicles washed sometimes after every trip into the scheme.
Stabroek News was taken into the scheme by Louis. On the almost two-hour journey through the community with streets lined with very deep potholes that looked like small ponds after they were filled with water from the usual downpour from the rainy season, the vehicle could not have been driven above 15 km/h. Many streets were lined with high bushes which Louis equated to driving through a jungle. While manoeuvring through the poor roads, a garbage truck which had been on its regular pickup duty became stuck in one of the holes. The driver said the truck had been stuck for approximately two hours and he was awaiting assistance.
Teachers of the Zeelugt Nursery School also voiced their concerns about the roads and how they are affected. One teacher, Rhonda, stated how expensive it is to travel into the community via hire cars.
“In total I would pay about $1000 back and forth here using a taxi every day, it is hard because we have our vehicle but can’t drive to come in here”, she said. She added that the road had been filled with loam some time back but as residents transported materials into the community to build their homes the roads began to deteriorate.
Another teacher, Amanda, stated that she and the other teachers at the school have their vehicles but are not able to drive.
“Myself and the other teachers here have our vehicles but we can’t make it in here.” Another teacher who chose not to give her name told Stabroek News that she parks her vehicle out on the main road and takes a taxi to get to work as she is afraid of her vehicle getting stuck in the slushy puddles on the road.
Amanda added that in the rainy season attendance at the school is poor.
“We have about 48 students and when the rain falls we would see less than half coming to school those days”.
One parent known as Jenny, echoed Louis’s complaint: “we made several complaints to the NDC and they told us they can’t do anything about it, so who supposed to be responsible for the road, these aren’t good living conditions.”