Over 12,000 residents from the southwestern peninsula are in danger of being cut off from the rest of the country after heavy rains exacerbated a landslip at Chatham.
Failure by the government to repair the landslip late last year triggered protests from residents in early January and temporary shoring works were subsequently done by the Ministry of Works to save the roadway. But in an interview with Guardian Media yesterday, councillor for the area Shankar Teelucksingh said the temporary shoring works gave way and a part of the road collapsed into the 30 feet precipice.
“This is disgraceful because monies were spent earlier this year to fix the landslip. We want to know when the government will repair this landslip because thousands of people are already suffering because of this,” he said.
He noted that the contractor should be made to account as to why the works failed. Teelucksingh said he had raised the issue since last year with the ministry after runoff water started cutting into the land and undermining the road.
He said when the ministry fixed it they failed to anchor the WASA line and it ruptured causing one-third of the road to collapse into the precipice. Teelucksingh said now that further works were done, the engineering was questionable because the works did not last more than four months.
“We need to do remedial works now else the entire road will collapse,” Teelucksingh said.
Resident Michelle Vialva told Guardian Media that the road was a risk to passing motorist. She noted that the PTSC bus cannot traverse the area because of the hazard.
Another resident Sunil Sookram said three gas stations in Cedros had closed down because the fuel tankers could not pass the landslip to deliver to the customers. He added that if the landslip was not fixed soon, Icacos and Cedros will be accessible only by sea.
Contacted for comment, Minister Sinanan assured that the project was a priority one. He said engineers from the ministry visited the landslip last week and were attempting to arrive at a permanent solution. He explained that the works done on the landslip earlier this year had been temporary.
“The problem in that area is the water lines which have to be relocated before we can permanently repair the roadway. There is further work that has to be done by WASA. They were on the site last week and they are working with the Ministry of Works team to see what could be done on a permanent basis,” Sinanan said.
He noted that the ministry was aware of several landslips in the peninsula but noted that repairs were subject to the availability of funds.
“We have a major landslip programme ongoing and some are done under the PURE unit. We have to prioritize projects,” he added.