By Madiba Singhateh

Residents of Jambanjelly and environs, have bitterly complained about the recent floods from the first rains that has inundated several compounds situated on the Sukuta Jabang highway. According to residents, the flooding of their compounds from the recent rains was mainly due to the construction of the highway linking Sukuta to Jabang.

Speaking to family members in the Chatty Kunda neighborhood, the flood waters flow directly in their compound because the Company constructing the highway diverted the water flow that used to run across the village; that night the water flow cannot be controlled now because it heads right for their houses; that the only way out now is to create a water bypass that will direct the flow of water during the rains, to the gutters.

Mankamang, another victim whose house was brought down by the rains, said the incident happened during the night, when the family was evacuated to his brother’s compound; that flooding in his compound and his surrounding, started recently, when the road is about to be completed.

Kissima Bojang, another resident of the village, said the issue is not only about the flood waters but the demolition of houses and payment of compensation. Kissima said those compounds that have been demolished on right hand side of the road in Jambanjelly, when coming from Sukuta, have been compensated and construction work can be noticed on that side of the road; that it now remains those compounds on the left hand side that have been marked, but are yet to be demolished and compensated.

This reporter tried in vain to speak to the village spokesperson and the VDC Chairperson who both said the matter was forwarded to Works Ministry, the President and Governor’s office.

This reporter visited the Gamworks Agency’s Offices to get their version of the story regarding the complaints of villagers of Jambanjelly.

According to the secretary of the Agency who goes by the name Margaret, working with communities is not an easy task. She spoke to the Project Manager of the Agency regarding the presence of this reporter for an opinion on the matter but said the Manager told her that the reporter should officially write a letter and request for an interview if he wants his opinion.

From the Pre-Qualification documents of the contract, the propose road commences where the Westfield / Sukuta Road ends and runs through Jabang, Jambur and Latria and stops at Jambanjelly; that the works consist of the construction of a 13.50 km road, comprising dual carriageways; that each carriageway has two 3.50 m wide traffic lanes of 7.00 m wide with asphalt pavements on a cement stabilized laterite base course; 1.0 m wide covered drains, 3.50 m wide parking areas and 1.00 m wide sidewalks; that the works comprise earthworks, pavement construction, drainage works, culverts, and other related activities including relocation of existing utilities, installation of street lights and road markings for traffic safety measures, during the execution of the works, including temporal traffic diversions.