MP’s questioned about asbestos housing in their consituencies
Yesterday in Rose-Belle and St Pierre, two different delegations of local Joint Committees of “LALIT-Inhabitants of Asbestos Housing” went to the Constituency offices of their respective Members of Parliament to demand that they take on the responsibility of ensuring that dangerous government-built asbestos housing be replaced with safe housing. Both delegations went with a banner saying “The government has sold us dangerous housing”.
In St. Pierre, at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) only the Constituency no. 8 MP’s secretary was in. The delegation informed the secretary that they wish to meet their MPs’ about the asbestos housing question. The secretary said that she will transmit the request to the MPs’ which happened to be 3 ministers. The Prime Minister himself, Minister Yogiden Sawmynaden and Minister Leela Devi Dookun who is not in the country.
In Rose Belle, the delegation handed a letter to the secretary of Mahen Seeruttun, MP for Constituency no. 11, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security. The letter is both about the asbestos housing question and against agricultural land destruction so that land is used to create jobs and agricultural village housing instead. People in the street and around the office expressed support to the Joint Committee, encouraging the Committee to keep this struggle going until gaining victory. We publish the contents of the letter to Minister Seeruttun:
“We, delegates of the Komite Konzwin Abitan EDC Rose-Belle – LALIT (Sid) have come to see you today in person to call on you to intervene as Hon. Member for Vieux Grand Port – Rose Belle to ensure that asbestos housing is removed and replaced by safe housing as decided by government in 2015. There is asbestos housing in many places in your constituency: in EDC Rose-Belle, in EDC Cluny, EDC St Hilaire, EDC Vieux Grand Port among the 59 EDC asbestos housing estates.
“Recognising that the government is responsible for building asbestos housing (built in the 1960’s) that constitutes a danger for our health and lives, has leased/sold such housing to us over the years, and recognising that many of us still live in, the present government officially undertook to remove asbestos housing and replace it with alternative safe housing. Budgetary provision had already been made for the removal of asbestos housing in 2015. We are close to 3 years after, and nothing has been done. Nothing has even been said about when and how asbestos housing will be removed and replaced, and what measures will be taken for temporary housing despite all our individual and concerted efforts together with other Joint-Committees of asbestos housing inhabitants and LALIT in other Consituencies .
“Secondly, we call on you as Minister for Agro-Industry and Food Security to ensure that new employment and housing is created in Rose-Belle by transforming Rose-Belle S.E into an agro-industrial food-production unit for planting food crops and processing/transforming it for both local consumption and exportation. A BDO report has already outlined how this can be done. We call on you to integrate in this plan agricultural villages where people without jobs and housing can get access to land for both housing and planting food crops for this new unit on a guaranteed price. All infrastructure and facilities that were given to the sugar industry now that it is clear that sugar has no future must be transferred to food production. The State must set up all facilities: storage, Marketing Board, transportation, insurance, derocking, fezans, provision of food crop seeds so that this new job-creating, housing-creating sector becomes a reality.
“The government cannot continue to give big concessions for agricultural land destruction by letting real estate companies and sugar estate groups erect luxury villas and appartments (through IRS, ERS, and other real estate schemes) to sell off to rich billionaires. Already in the South, the government has spent Rs. 603 million for a motorway linking the coming Omnicane Smart City to the airport. The government must get sugar estates to replace sugar production with food production instead of selling off land so that jobs by the thousand are created and food security ensured.
“You, as Minister for Ago-Industry and Food Security should be making sure that government promotes and spends on production, on job production, on housing for those without housing and not on agricultural land destruction.”