Works are going apace on the Fyzabad to Mon Desir segment of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension Project, but head of the Highway Reroute Movement (HRM)—Dr Wayne Kublalsingh—is calling on the Prime Minister to stop the project now.
During a press conference on Friday, Kublalsingh said acquisition of all properties has not been completed and all residents have not been compensated.
"The Government is breaking the law in Debe to Mon Desir. It is acting with malfeasance," Kublalsingh said.
He explained that on 3 December 2019, the day after the Local Government Elections, the tractors and bulldozers entered directly between Mon Desir and Fyzabad.
"Despite being stopped at two spots, they have continued operations between Sewlal Trace and the Pepper Village Government School and West of Sewlal Trace,” Kublalsingh charged.
"They have entered and bulldozed property of owners who have been part-compensated, not compensated at all, or who live or own property within 500 meters of these works. This is unlawful and malfeasance," he added.
Dr Wayne Kublalsingh said the terms and conditions of the CEC—Certificate of Environmental Clearance—for this project are clear:
"The last time the state entered the Fyzabad area with bulldozers was in November 2012. The HRM camped for over 200 days in front of the Prime Minister's office. Dr Wayne Kublalsingh embarked on a hunger strike. The result was the Highway Review Committee's Report on Debe to Mon Desir—The Armstrong Report," Kublalsingh said.
The activist asserts that government has ignored the recommendations of the Armstrong report.
"The HRM is calling on the Prime Minister to intercede and stop this unlawful and malfeasant behaviour by senior government officials."
He also called on the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) to investigate the breach of the CEC.
Kublalsingh said if the Prime Minister fails to do something, further action will be taken.
The Guardian will bring further updates on this story as it unfolds.
Story by RADHICA DE SILVA ([email protected])
Photo by KRISTIAN DE SILVA