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Villagers pave own road, rather than stage protest

Friday, May 25, 2018
Fyzabad MP Lackram Bodoe, second from left, and residentss of Sewlal Trace paving their road yesterday. PICTURE IVAN TOOLSIE

When road conditions get deplorable, it is common for people to stage fiery protests to get the relevant authorities to fix it.

But villagers of Sewlal Trace, Fyzabad got together and paved their road for themselves, rather than protest.

The community comprising of 30 households raised $5,500 which they used to buy 12 truckloads of oil sand and crush stone aggregate.

Paving started at the crack of dawn on Wednesday and continued up to late yesterday.

Using rakes, spades, forks, and buckets to dig and spread the oil sand, the villagers worked together earning the support of two Fyzabad contractors, Brian Ramlogan, of Trice Enterprise Limited, and Sheldon Ragbir, of SR Transport.

Ragbir said he first opted to donate his equipment for one day but when the project was not completed on Wednesday he brought in another set of materials and equipment on Thursday to complete the job.

The road, which is about a mile long, falls under the jurisdiction of Petrotrin but despite numerous appeals, it remained unpaved.

Resident Kierron Yip Ngow said, “We decided that it was not worth waiting for Petrotrin to pave it. They promised to do so since 2013. The last time this road was paved was in 2005 when it was done as a self-help project. Back then a resident, Tiffany Mungroo, pleaded with everyone to pave the road and to give us pipe-borne water. We got together as a community and did it with Self Help Commission,” Yip Ngow said.

He added that the road was not maintained by the Siparia Regional Corporation and even though Petrotrin agreed to survey and repave the road, years passed and their cries fell on deaf ears.

He said Ragbir offered to give them materials at a discount. Ramlogan offered a yard of crush and 12 yards of oil sand. That was what we started with and we spent the day spreading the oil sand. It was not enough and those contractors came back with materials and used their backhoes and steamroller to help us,” Yip Ngow said.

Another resident, Deo Mangaroo, said he was proud of the residents’ efforts.

“It is not everywhere you would find this kind of co-operation,” he said.

Mukesh Jaikaran added, “It felt very good. I took a day off today. We deal with the MP well and he spoke with us and explained that we weren’t getting any funds. He was the one who motivated us. We are hoping that we will get an asphalt road one day,” he said.

MP Lackram Bodoe said the residents first approached him last October and he told them that funds were short at the Corporation. Bodoe said he told the residents that if they pooled money together he will match whatever they raised and get assistance for them to pave their own road.

Ideally, the cost of paving the one-mile strip could have been over $10,000 but residents got much more.

With co-operation and charity, they achieved friendships, community camaraderie, and personal satisfaction, Bodoe said.


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