Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Donga Mantung: Participatory Committee to Champion Community Work on Ring Road

 By Fai Cassian Ndi
Chorry: The worst spot on the ring road

.The Divisional Participatory Follow-up Committee for the execution of Public Investment Projects in Donga Mantung Division has frowned at the poor state of the stretch of the Ring Road linking the Division to the Regional Capital Bamenda. Committee members observed that from Ndu to Nkambe is not just a nightmare but demands serious prayers and fasting. For the past three days, it is impossible for cars to travel from Nkambe to Ndu given the state of nature of the road. In order to rescue Donga Mantung from being cut-off from the rest of Cameroon, members of the committee resolved to work in collaboration with the Senior Divisional Officer for Donga Mantung Division, Ngone Ndodemesape Bernard to mobilize the population to work on the bad spots of the Ring Road. It should be noted that it is at this time of the year that every little hill along the Bamenda Ring Road always make a name. Vehicles and passengers are reported to have passed the night at either the Hill Top at Ndu or Chorry in Mbot. The dilemma of horrific roads in this part of the country has become a painful shame. In Donga Mantung Division for example, normal interaction has been frustrated by bad roads. Vehicle owners are in distress as their vehicles are not used optimally. In a border Division with hardly any railway, no air service and now no good access roads, the citizens of Donga Mantung Division feel trapped with nowhere to turn as members of the Committee for the participatory Follow-up of Public Investment projects have decided to dance to the tune of the peoples’ destiny. At least over 10.000 people are expected to be mobilized to work on the bad spots of the road by next week.

The road to Nkambe commonly known as the Ring Road is a big shame to the Biya regime. It is so bad that traveling from Ndu to Nkambe on the Ring Road needs two days whereas it is less than 40 kilometers. Even vehicles using that road invariably retire to a mechanics workshop at the end of every journey. Transporters are hurting and are bewildered that despite their payment of all road taxes to Government and the various rates to the state and local governments, little is being done to repair the roads upon which their livelihood depends. It is not just a nightmare but a therapeutic theater of trauma for any pregnant woman and children below the ages of two. Just from Ndu to Nkambe, there are trucks that have sunk into the mud and have remained on the spot for the past one week.  Besides, the very many potholes and detours mean that vehicles keep breaking down and sometimes with disastrous consequences.  
It is common for thieves, rapists and other miscreants to ensconce themselves in bad portions of the roads where all vehicles virtually come to a halt. Traveling on this stretch of the ring road represents a perpetual danger to the population. Instead, the present state of nature of the Ring Road makes it impossible to plan a journey or predict arrival time. For instant, the mayor of Ndu who left his office to attend the follow-up meeting in Nkambe arrival four hours late whereas this is a journey of 45 minutes. Commercial activity is suffering as goods and services are now in short supply leading to price increases in practically all consumer items. The fare from Nkambe to Ndu has been doubled to the detriment of the population. 
On the low execution rate of Public Investment Projects in the Division has been blamed on the state of nature of the road linking Donga Mantung Division. As Committee members met today July 10, 2013 under the chairmanship of Ngabir Paul Bantar they observed with dissatisfaction the low physical and financial realization recorded. Out of 46 projects allocated for the Division, only 02 projects have been completely executed, while 02 other projects are still on-going. According to reports, the physical realization stands at 2.14% while financial realization is at 2.04%. With barely five months left for the financial year to elapse, participants feared that all these projects may not be executed given the slowness in execution. However, control engineers complained that they are facing the problem of logistics given that most of the projects are located on difficult terrains at enclaved localities. The committee however recommended that each Divisional Delegate should write to the Ministry to request for logistics to ensure constant site visits. Furthermore, the question on the completion of the Binka Ring Road abound high as the Divsional Delegate for MINEPAT presented an assessment contrary to one that was presented to the committee that the contractor abandoned the project and was owing more than 11 million FCFA. The Chairman of the Committee Ngabir Paul Bantar called on mayors of Donga Mantung Division to always attend follow-up meetings in order to report on council projects or send true representatives who can be able to answer to any worry. I is even alleged that the contractor who has been awarded the job to carryout maintenance work on the stretch of the Ring Road from Kumbovia Ndu to Nkambe has declared that if all the funds are not paid he will not start work reasons why the population of Donga Mantung Division has decided to take the bull by the horns by taking their destiny into their hands. 
Traveling along the ring road doesn’t require any stranger to look for signposts, because the nature of the road is always a topic of conversation and most celebrated areas are always key topics. This is so because after each 1km or even less, the driver will always ask passengers to jump down and push the car. Here one of them “we are at "Chorry", please everybody should move out of the car because we have to push”.
Transporters are lamenting the loss of revenue. They can only operate skeletal services during the day and cannot operate at night because of the unknown especially when it rians. Their revenue is down by 70% and unless the roads are repaired, the transporters may well abandon their trade. Already bad roads have led to a reduction in travel.
It is holiday period when Donga Mantung experiences an upsurge in commuter traffic as everyone is expected to send kids home yet even this reporter has not been able to send his kids to meet grand Mum due to the poor nature of the road. With the roads being in such poor state it is doubtful whether individuals would be prepared to put themselves through the rigours of a punishing journey merely for the sake of celebrating the yuletide with their kith and kin and friends.  
Another problem besetting the ring road is that government cares little about the people of Donga Mantung Division.  
The lack of maintenance of roads in Cameroon has become a public issue as Cameroonians are daily lamenting this failure of leadership. Good roads are a basic component of good governance. Cameroonians are routinely being put at risk everyday as a result of the failure of the state to provide adequate amenities for its citizens. All the authorities involved in road construction and maintenance should buckle down and do something to remove this blot on Cameroon’s image. We are even made to understand that this road is tarred on papers



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1 comment:

Joseph Musonge said...

Road construction and maintenance is a serious call for concern in our country. Contracts awarded most of the time are poorly executed or not even executed at all but yet money allocated for these construction works is being discharged and disappears. The ring road is suffering from poor contract management. It is just a matter of time, the ring road qualm will definitely be settled, it is a major concern for the government.