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Highway construction undermining Diamond Village dwellings
Three houses in Diamond Village, San Fernando, are now precariously perched on the rim of a landslip posing a threat to displace over 15 family members, including two paraplegics. Residents said yesterday the landslips worsened over the past few months after OAS Constructora began excavation works for the $7.5 billion San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway.
Susan Goomansingh said her family was forced to abandon their house located at Priam Street, Diamond Village, after the concrete pillars began to shift. The entire back of her home eventually detached itself from the original structure and dipped downwards. “We could not stay here anymore. It was too dangerous. Right now the entire family is living separately. We have to stay at the home of friends. It is uncomfortable for us and we really need help,” Goomansingh said.
She said that several letters were written to Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal and a team was despatched from the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation and viewed the damage. However, since then Goomansingh said, no assistance has been forthcoming.
Meanwhile, her neighbours, Gemma Vialva and Aziz Hosein, who are both wheelchair-bound, said the situation has been making life unbearable. “It is really difficult for us because all the steps have broken away. We are not comfortable downstairs and everyday we can hear the house creaking as it moves,” Hosein said.
He added that recent excavation for the highway had exacerbated the problem. Hosein said seismic tests for oil exploration were also done last year and the excavation caused land movement. He is calling on the Government to provide them with better accommodation.
Another resident, Shabana Ali, said the entire top floor of her mother-in-law’s house was abandoned because it was on the verge of collapse. She said the land close to their home was always waterlogged and this may have provoked the land slippage. She said she was now staying with her three children, Stephanie, six, Tiffany, five and Tanisha, four, and her husband, Sharma Nandan, in a one-room structure.
The residents yesterday called for Government to build a wall behind their homes or to relocate them. An official from the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation yesterday said documents were forwarded to Moonilal last Tuesday. Efforts to contact the minister yesterday were unsuccessful.
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