By Lamin Fatty
Sabi Ward Development Committee (WDC) has on Sunday raised concerns over the newly constructed Kumbija bridge in Fulladu East District, Upper River Region (URR).
They have in a statement issued and signed by Hagi Suwaneh – the Secretary-General of Sabi WDC, raised concerns about the splitting of the road without prior notice. This, Mr Swaneh said, is hampering their movement from one end to the other.
The WDC Secretary-General also raised concern on the awarding of contract which he alleged was done without consulting them and the local authorities.
“When the said project was announced and the time it was about to start, almost every inhabitant of the surrounding communities was delighted to receive the good news including the Ward’s WDC,” Mr. Suwaneh disclosed. However, he cited that when the contract was awarded, the way the work started worried everyone. He added neither the Ward councilor nor the WDC was informed or involved in the process which was not in line with the guidelines of the National Road Authority.
He also expressed concern over the splitting of the road without providing any temporary crossing solution to ease the movement of people to get to their intended destinations or get access to their different communities.
The WDC secretary-general said no contract document was given to them and no prior notice was given as well. He said they have written to the Authorities responsible demanding explanations, but they are yet to receive any response.
He said their ward development committee is entrusted with powers by the Local Government Act to monitor and supervise any project within their jurisdiction. “The Ward’s main concern now is the bridge in question.”
He said the heavy downpour of rain has resulted in a serious accident in the area. He said the accident involving a taxi resulted in the death of a woman.
He said this was caused by the poor planning and lack of proper consultations in the construction of the bridge. He said the people of Sabi are calling on the authorities to fix this problem, to make life easy for the people of the community.
Speaking to this reporter through a telephone interview, the ward councilor for Sabi who is also the vice-chairman for Basse area council, Yubba Jawara, accused the government for ‘wasting taxpayers’ money on the construction of the said bridge.
The Vice-Chairman of Basse Area Council demanded for the contract documents, the plan, and other information about the bridge project from the National Road Authority (NRA).
He added: “I am urging the government to investigate this project that is my position.”
The representative of the National Road Authority in the region was contacted to shed light on the issues raised by the people, but he declined on the issue. He said NRA has no office in Basse therefore, whoever needs information regarding the roads and bridges from the NRA in URR should contact their main office in Banjul.