RADHICA DE SILVA
In a desperate bid to force the government to repair a landslip that is threatening their homes, residents of San Francique staged a placard protest outside their homes today.
The landslip, which is about 10 feet deep and about 100 metres wide, has already toppled one house, swallowed half the roadway and ruptured water lines.
Resident Franklyn Dass said about 14 residents from Santa Cecilia Trace, San Francique, have not received pipe-borne water for two months.
“The water usually comes at 2 am and by 5 am it is gone, but since the landslip ruptured the water lines, it’s eight weeks now we have no water,” Dass said.
He explained that residents pay $500 per truckload of water.
“Many of us are not working and where we going to find $500 to pay for water. My water bill is up to date, and it is unfair. If they fix this landslip and the water line, we will be grateful,” he said.
Another resident said Bhim Singh said his home was the first to be destroyed by the landslip years ago.
He said he spent over a hundred thousand dollars to build a wall to protect his property but now he is being told that to build the road, his wall had to be broken down.
“Heavy vehicle mash-up this road and gone. The government build a wall and in a week it went down. The landslip deteriorating from then to now,” he said.
Another resident Vishnu Sahadeo said 15 years ago, the landslip destroyed the decking he built for his home.
“I ended up building a house in the back and that too is going down. My driveway is going down. We want the government to do proper works on this landslip,” he added.
Councillor for San Francique/Avocat Doodnath Mayrhoo said the protest will escalate if nothing is done to repair the landslip.
“What they see here is smoke. I am prepared to light fire. We want an immediate resolution because people are suffering for too long. The Ministry of Works is asking people to break their walls so they could widen the road. We need a compensation package made available for those families who are displaced. If we have to wait one month further, we will light a fire here,” Mayrhoo vowed.
MP for the area, Dave Tancoo, said he wanted a proper geotechnical survey to be done on the landslip before repairs commence.
“People have been living here for decades and have spent their life earnings to build property. The road is slipping and if heavy rains continue, this landslip which is 100 metres in length and 10 feet deep, will get worse,” MP Tancoo said.
He added that people were fed up with patchwork and wanted the landslip properly repaired.
Guardian Media reached out to Works Minister Rohan Sinanan for a comment on the issue without success, as he had not responded to calls and WhatsApp messages sent to him at the time of this article being published.