By Kebba Jeffang
Residents of Sandu district in the northern part of Upper River Region (URR) are complaining about the poor condition of the Laminkoto – Passamas road which they said has been in this state of utter neglect during both the first and second republics.
They raised their complaints recently to this reporter who was visiting the area to report on the living conditions of the inhabitants in one of these remote parts of The Gambia.
Talking to a young man called Famara, who is a resident of Kuraw Village, he explained how the condition of the road has virtually disconnected them from the rest of the country as it is inaccessible or unmotorable. “It is difficult for us to easily travel within Sami or the bordering districts of Wuli, Sami and Basse as there is bus service because of bad condition of the road,” he said.
He said the lack of good roads is seriously affecting the movements of people and goods, especially their agricultural produce which could not be transported to markets such as Basse.
“The villagers depend on farming and gardening as the main sources of survival but that they always find it difficult to transport the produce to the weekly lumo and other markets,” he disclosed.
Fatou Drammeh from Diabugu Village reiterated the negative impact that the road has on their lives and livelihoods.
“We have always been hearing promises from both this government and the one before that they are going to construct the road but to no avail. We’ll only believe them when actual work has started,” she said.
Ebrima Danso, a motorist who was passing by, also expressed concern on the state of the road and how it is making life more difficult for them. He said since vehicles are not using the road, the inhabitants, who have the means, are now resorting to motorbikes or bicycles to cover the distances.
“Even these motorbikes are not being spared by the bad road as the owners are always forced to be repairing and replacing this or that damaged part,” he lamented.
Mr. Danso said as tax payers they are also entitled to good roads in order to facilitate their easy movement within the district and to other parts of the country.
An old man who was riding a bicycle said he heard it over the national radio in Basse that the government has now got a loan to construct the road but expressed his hope for this to materialize. “Since I heard this announcement, I have not seen any sign of work being started or anything done yet. I hope this time it will be true so that travelling will be made much easier in this area,” he said.