President of the Aranguez United Farmers Association, Pundit Satyanand Maharaj.

President of the Aranguez United Farmers’ Association (AUFA) Pundit Satyanand Maharaj said that the Association has been working with officers of both the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture to bring relief to the farmers who have been affected by floods over the past few years.

In a news release issued yesterday, Maharaj said that this year, from the Aranguez dam to the Aranguez River Bridge on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway the river was dredged and the primary and secondary river bank rebuilt.

He said that in response to a further appeal made by the AUFA to have the watercourses cleaned and cleared in order to facilitate quick runoff and minimise flash flooding in the farm areas, the Ministry of Agriculture provided an excavator to clean silted drains that were the main culprit in floods on the northern side of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway.

“The AUFA would like to go on record that the Ministry of Agriculture played no part in the cutting of any coconut trees,” Maharaj said in response to a report carried in another newspaper which Maharaj deemed “a bias article” that “did not get more than one side of the story”.

“It is unfortunate that what appears to be a feud for land – the land now seems to have three owners with three separate deeds – seeks to drag the officers of the ministry who are civil servants into its land grab issue. While we sympathise with the loss of the trees, the ire of the real owners should be turned on the real culprits,” Maharaj said.

He added: “There comes a time when we must put country before party. For years farmers have suffered great losses without the counselor getting a watercourse cleaned unless there was a General Election or Local Election in the air.”

Maharaj thanked the Minister of Agriculture “and his team of civil servants for a great job and we look forward to working with them to keep farmers putting food on the nation’s table.”