QUESTION OF THE DAY
Living condition in rural areas is very harsh due to low income because of low production. The consequence is the migration of many young people to the urban areas in search of greener pastures only to face unemployment, poverty and misery. Urban migration has resulted to pressure on land, leading to people settling anywhere including waterways, out of desperation.
Some of the properties on waterways in the Greater Banjul Area are leased properties, meaning that the Departments of Lands and Physical Planning and Housing were involved in legitimizing the establishment ownership of the properties. The same could be said for the social security estate in Jabang.
It is easy to condemn these property owners but what about the officials that processed their documents. We should put the blame game aside. We don’t consider or take town planning in The Gambia.
What needs to be taken into account is to accept the reality as it is and work out a realistic solution in a planned manner. There should be immediate and long term solutions.
In the first place, as a matter of urgency, the water has to be pumped away to nearby reservoirs in order to ease the living condition of occupants.
Then a study has to be conducted to work out a waterway with the minimal destruction of buildings.
Leased property owners should be compensated because their properties were sanctioned by officials.
Officials involved in demolition exercise should make it a point of duty to observe the legal requirements for a demolition exercise, including serving occupants with notice of demolition.
Lastly, the government must begin to take town planning seriously.