#Headlines

Bansang youths give 3 months ultimatum to NAWEC

May 3, 2021, 11:08 AM | Article By: Sanna Camara

Following a mounting pressure from youths of Bansang demanding a sit down with the national utilities company, the managing director of NAWEC over the weekend traveled to the provincial town for a meeting that resulted in an ultimatum to fix the water problem within three months.

Last week, tension nearly brewed up in Bansang when youths summoned NAWEC team for a meeting over the two-year longstanding water colouration problem that their population is forced to use for drinking, cooking and other domestic purposes.

After sitting in wait for hours, NAWEC officials never turned up.

However, elders of the town prevailed upon the youths to allow decorum to prevail and a second attempt at pursuing dialogue with the service provider.

The National Assembly Member for Upper Fulladu West, Hon. Sanna Jawara, also intervened by talking with the youths and making calls to NAWEC management in Banjul to address the concerns of the youths.

“Nani Juwara is going to Bansang this weekend to dialogue with the youths over the issues of water coloration,” Hon Jawara said when contacted last week at the National Assembly.

Bansang is located almost 320 kilometers from Banjul in CRR South as the main commercial town in the region. It is almost a landlocked township, surrounded by hills on the south and the east, while the north is River Gambia.

According to the National Assembly Member, iron concentration in the water table is high, hence affecting water quality in the town. Alternatives to sourcing the water table from either Bantanto or Janjangbureh are also being considered. Notwithstanding, the distribution pipes are old as they were laid over 30 years ago.

The NAM explained that when he was voted into office, plans were drawn for water, roads and energy solutions for this part of the country he was mandated to represent in the Assembly.

“Bansang has no commercial bank, no standard amenities and the only hospital was built and maintained by the PPP government,” he lamented.

However, those plans were affected by the political divorce between his party and President Adama Barrow. So he was considering other options for the constituency in order to fix perennial problems confronting the rural area.

“For a sustainable solution, we are thinking of a long term solution to the problem instead of short term fixes,” the NAM said.

Mr. Ebrima Roland, a young Gambian water engineer who studied in China and now runs SAFRO company has offered to help. Due to social media campaign last week, Mr. Roland met with the NAM and offered to help install water filtration systems on two public taps for free in Bansang.

He traveled to Bansang over the weekend and took part in the dialogue with the youths. His idea offers a temporary solution to the problem until NAWEC has a more lasting one.

“The mission of SAFRO is to provide clean drinking water in an eco-friendly way. For us, clean water should not be a privilege for a few,” he said as he installed and successfully launched one of taps in Bansang. The chances are that he can go large-scale in such solutions if needed.

Meanwhile, PURA had sanctioned NAWEC to pay a fine of D25,000 to the town for each of the months that the problem continues to affect the town. That was some six months ago.

After the weekend meeting with the youths in Bansang and the ultimatum issued by the youths, MD Juwara promised a lasting solution within a month.

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