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Village councillors support asbestos house dwellers


Yesterday afternoon at Cite La Chaux Social Centre delegates from Joint asbestos-house inhabitants – Lalit (South) from thevillages of Vieux Grand Port, Plaine Magnien (Balance), Plaine Magnien (Langlois), St Hubert, Rose-Belle, respectively, assembled in a meeting with three delegated Councillors: Christian Aristide of the Cite La Chaux-Beau Vallon Village Council and the council's District Council representative Mahendre Seechurn and the Vice-President of the Mahebourg Village Council Geean Dassoo. This gathering was held in the constituency of MP Mahen Jhugroo who is the Housing Minister.

The representatives of Beau Vallon-Cite La Chaux Village Councils after listening to the Joint Committee delegates, stated that they would present a motion in their Village Council, in the Grand Port District Council Health Commission as well as in in the Grand Port District Council in support of inhabitants and to ensure that there is safe removal of asbestos in the District.

This was after a delegate of the Cite La Chaux inhabitant explained to Village Councillors how inhabitants of asbestos houses (not only in the region of Grand Port, but also in other regions of the East, West and North), have organised over many years for the government to remove asbestos houses that it is responsible for having built and that it is responsible for replacing with safe housing. She also explained how in 2006, Dr. Sibartie, Ministry of Health official had concluded that asbestos houses must be removed and replaced. As had the Truth and Justice Commission in 2011. The Minister of Housing had announced that housing estates would be rid of asbestos (“desamiantage”) in an official Communiqué on 22nd June 2015.  Funds had been organised by the Ministry of Finance for this and at the a special Inter-Ministerial Committee set up on the asbestos question had decided in June that the Ministries of Housing and Social Integration would organise a time-frame for re-housing for asbestos house dwellers. The Cite La Chaux Joint Committee had contacted the Housing Minister twice for a meeting, but had only received a letter stating that inhabitants are the “owners” - so the onus of removing asbestos and replacing asbestos housing rests on them!

The Ombudsperson for Children is also awaiting the Housing Minister's stand after making her recommendations.

LALIT (Sid) representative Rajni Lallah who presided the meeting explained how in Cite La Chaux, the ex-Beau-Vallon sugar estate is building villas for billionaires in Pointe D'Esny, has transformed its agricultural land into real estate land just over the wall they have built separating Cite La Chaux from their real estate land. In Plaine Magnien, not far from asbestos house dwellers, Omnicane is building its “Smart City”. The government has spent Rs603 million rupees to build a motorway for this Smart City in fast track time. Getting rid of asbestos houses that ordinery working people live in, that the government itself is responsible for building and is thus responsible for, is clearly not its priority.