URR taxpayers:  Basse Area Council is changing lives of rural Gambians

Dec 9, 2021, 12:01 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo just back from Basse

Inhabitants of the Upper River Region (URR), one of the furthest regions of the country are rejoicing amid the ‘unprecedented’ development registered by the area council, ranging from infrastructural development to clean and potable drinking water among others.

Local dwellers in the region have credited the council for constructing three bridges in different parts of the region, among which is a bridge in Baja Kunda in Wulli East District, Sambalolo bridge in Fulladou District and Song-Kunda in the Kantora District of URR. The council is also currently rehabilitating the Sare Bojo feeder road.

According to council officials, a resolution was passed in the year 1932 for the Basse Area Council to construct the Song-Kunda bridge, but for some constraints, they couldn’t go ahead. They further claimed that in 1972, another resolution was passed for the council to construct the bridge but to no avail.  

The bridge which connects the community of Song-Kunda and other satellite villages within the area has now been constructed under the leadership of the current council management. The council officials said they are committed to national development especially in changing the lives and livelihood of their taxpayers.

Speaking to our reporter at Song-Kunda village, Ebrima Sanyang, the alkalo’s representative, underscored the significance of the bridge within the area, claiming that most of the satellite villages in the area and even the nearby villages in the southern Cassamace used the bridges in order to go to Fatoto for their daily business activities including access to health care.

“We were definitely encountering lot of difficulties in the area especially before the construction of the said bridge. In fact, when it rains around 5 p.m., those on the other side of the bridge would spend the night in Banni, while those on the other end would spend the night at Song-Kunda village.”

Sanyang added: “We have in fact lost most of the ruminants to the bridge before it was constructed. The running water used to kill lots of our ruminants and we were even afraid of loss of lives of our people.”

“We therefore wish to thank the council for this unprecedented development. Now even if it’s raining, we can pass over the bridge without thinking of anything.”

“I lost D1800 to the bridge. The running water nearly took me away when I was coming from selling bananas at some villages within the area. We were then using canoes in ferrying people from either side of the bridge,” he said.

 “Before the bridge, it was really a difficult situation for us. When we have a sick person, especially a pregnant woman and she needs to be taken to Fatoto Health Center, we have to wait until the following day especially when it rains.”

At Sambalolo Bridge  

Balla Camara, a native of Sambalolo village said: “We were using rope in order to cross to either side of the bridge before it was constructed. In fact, four years back, we lost a man in the said bridge while he was crossing. Last year also, another man lost his motorcycle. Still now we haven’t seen the motorbike.”

He added: “When it rains, we can’t go to Sabi village to access health care and our children couldn’t go to school. It was really a nightmare for us. When it rains in the evening, our school going children would spend the night with some of our relatives in Sabi.”   

Ousman Touray, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the council, said the council for the past years has been working tremendously in ensuring that 60% of the taxpayers monies return to them in form of developmental projects among others. He added that the council has introduced a Digital Tax System with the objectives of blocking loopholes and boosting the council’s revenue.

“Despite the economic challenges confronting the world as a result of the pandemic, the council was able to dig about seven boreholes within the area.

Lamin Susso, the council’s director of Finance, said the council has been day in and day out working towards improving the lives of its taxpayers. 

“I can assure you that there are lots of developmental projects that are in the pipeline,” He stated, while urging the people of the region to continue paying their rates and taxes on time in order to witness rapid transformation in the region.

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