Canals to be desilted in Melanie to improve drainage

– Comprehensive drainage plan on the cards

Residents and farmers of Melanie Damishana and surrounding areas, East Coast Demerara have been assured that several canals at the Northern side will be desilted to improve drainage. 

This assurance was given by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha during a walkabout in the community on Monday.  

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

Minister Mustapha explained that, “I saw a lot of encroachments on the reserve.  As a result of that, our machines cannot get free access to desilt the canals. I have spoken to some of the residents and they agree. I have put some other plans in place where the machines will maneuver to go to different parts of the reserve so that we can clean those canals. The residents were very satisfied.”

This meeting is a follow-up to a commitment made by Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo recently in the community. 

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha inspecting one of the canals at Melanie North

Minister Mustapha underscored that a comprehensive drainage plan will be formulated for the area to ensure all canals are desilted.

The agriculture minister further noted that some excavation work commenced a few days ago, “Because of the impediment of the reserve, we are having these kinds of problems. So, I hope that after today, we will not have these issues arise again, as we will have some drainage facilities for the residents.”

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha interacting with one of the residents

Minister Mustapha also promised to return and have engagements with cash crop and livestock farmers, as some of them are planting crops and rearing animals along the reserve.

“Also, the co-op society wants to meet with Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton. I am hoping that I will bring Minister Hamilton when I come back here.”

The residents were all pleased with the timely solution.

Farmer, Gerard Jurant

Resident, Gerard Jurant expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the discussions with the minister.

“We are very satisfied that the drains will be desilted due to health purposes and to alleviate the mosquitoes as well. And to have a better relationship with the minister going forward for development of the area.”

Chairman of Melanie Community Development Council, Sirestsi Bascom

Chairman of the Melanie Community Development Council, Sirestsi Bascom indicated that the venture was conceptualised due to the flooding in the community.

“So, we asked for the minister’s intervention so that we can see how we can mitigate and deal with the drainage situation within the community. I’m happy that the minister came as he was able to meet some of the residents and hold a good consultation and see how best we can assist them; so that the much-needed works could get done within the community,” Bascom noted.

One of the canals

The minister was joined by Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth and NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer, Jagnarine Singh, along with engineers and other staff of the ministry.