September 27, 2016

Consultation is best for communities

Dear Editor,
It was very nice for several rice farmers including myself from Huis’t Dieren in Region Two to be consulted at a public forum on the way forward in relation to the bad state of a concrete base koker with wooden walls in a dual purpose trench alongside the school dam in the backlands there.
During two meetings earlier in this month with a week apart from each other the first one was with the Regional Vice Chairman and a representative from the Drainage and Irrigation Department and the other with top officials including the Regional engineer.
On both occasions, a unanimous decision was taken for the old koker to be condemned and replaced with a new one at a site which was identified some 15 feet frontward.
The engineer and his team took measurements for the works to be done with a clear indication to show that some progress was being made much to the satisfaction of the farmers.
But on last Monday (2014-03-14) out of sheer shock and surprise, this plan was shattered when two individuals whose names were given as Nateram and Showkat Ally made an on-the-spot inspection of the defective koker for only repairs to be effected.
The designation of Nateram was given as a consultant of the Ministry of Agriculture while Ally holds the position of Chairman of the Goodhope/Pomona Neighbourhood Democratic Council.
A disturbing aspect here is that the two of them did not have any discussion with the farmers whose interest was at stakes with questions being raised as to what criteria was used.
The farmers did not find favour for repair works to be done while contending that a new koker will serve a better purpose and would be most lasting to save taxpayers money from being wasted.
From our own knowledge the old koker has been in existence for 20 odd years now in a 24 feet wide trench with eight feet depth and for the years of decay has outlived its usefulness.
Could it be that the stance taken by Nateram and Ally is linked to any form of corruption somewhere along the line?
What is quite manifest is that there seems to be too many bosses within the Region making a fool and a mess of the farmers’ affairs which is most unacceptable when better needs to be done to foster better relationship to bring about further development.

Yours faithfully,
Abdool Kamal and

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