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Luxury villas for the rich, Asbestos housing for the poor

26.05.2017

8 delegates from the LALIT Committee-Inhabitants of the EDC Rose Belle were in Port Louis on Wednesday to present a letter to Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth in his capacity as Finance Minister in the context of the 2017-2018 budget in June.


People in EDC housing estate in Rose Belle, like people in 59 EDC housing estates across the country are still living in houses made of asbestos panels because they do not have the means to replace them with concrete houses. There is a National Committee of Ministers that is supposed to find a way for these asbestos houses to be removed and replaced with alternative housing that is safe, but this National Committee seems to have disappeared. The demand of the LALIT Committee – Inhabitants of Rose Belle EDC is for the Finance Minister to make provision in the coming budget for the removal of asbestos panels in all 59 housing estates and to replace them with safe alternative housing. This is the second action this month based on this demand. The first was organised by the Joint Committee of LALIT – Inhabitants of EDC Telfair (more about this in the news section: http://www.lalitmauritius.org/en/newsarticle/1958/joint-committee-of-lalit-inhabitants-of-cite-telfair-moka-addressed-letter-to-minister-finance-pravind-jugnauth/).


The 8 delegates held a press conference under a tree just across Government House to denounce the politics of the Jugnauth government that facilitates real-estate capitalists rather than building safe housing for working people. Delegates also went to present a petition to the Minister of Social Integration, Alain Wong and to the Minister of Social Security and the Environment, Etienne Sinatambou. LALIT militant Roland Fozoo who was in one of the delegations reports that when they saw Minister Sinatambou and presented him with the petition, he said “I have no time for this”.


The Jugnauth government continues with its real-estate driven economic politics of giving massive tax concessions to companies destroying agricultural land to make way for gated villa communities for billionaires. It has just allocated Rs 603 million to build a motorway linking the coming Omnicane Smart City to the airport. Omnicane has structured its smart city around this new road. Omnicane, the sugar estate group based in the South of Mauritius, like the three other main sugar estates in Mauritius, is transforming agricultural lands into real-estate land that produces nothing: not food, not jobs, not housing for working people.