By MUHAMMED .S. BAH Reporting from Bansang
Travellers, boat owners and coordinator of the Bansang-Bushtown crossing point, have raised concerns on the challenges they face at the crossing point, due to lack of machines to their boats and the use of the manual ferry to cross to the other side of the river which they say is a great challenge.
Visiting the crossing point in Bansang on Monday 18 July 2016, this reporter spoke to some of the travellers, boat owners and the coordinator of the crossing point.
This crossing point is about 200 hundred meters wide lake, in which travellers use to cross through a small ferry, with a long cable attached to it which is used by travellers through pulling with their hands to be able to propel it to cross to the other side of the river.
Other people use the small canoes, owned by young individuals.
People cross their animals, products and goods from other villages to Bansang, or some would buy products or animals and transport them over to the north bank.
Mama Ceesay, who claimed to be the coordinator of the crossing point, noted that people have been facing a lot of difficulties in crossing to the other side of the river on daily basis.
“Bansang as a business hub, attract people from other neighbouring villages to do their businesses there and go back on daily basis. Others use the crossing point to transport sick people to Bansang hospital,” noted Mama Ceesay.
In highlighting some of the challenges they face at the crossing points, the crossing point coordinator said to pull the cable in order for the ferry to move, is one of the difficult things they are experiencing. He further stated that sometimes it takes them hours to cross from the north bank to Bansang, like wise from Bansang to the other side of the river.
“We face the problem of crossing the Ambulance from Sami, Karantaba, and other places to come to the hospital in Bansang, especially during the rainy season. Sometimes the cable would cut off and it is very difficult to search for it when that happens, in order to fix it again.
He said they have been facing these problems for many years, and now that the business community is growing and people are now using the crossing point more often, especially the transportation of sick people from other villages to Bansang hospital.
He further urged the authorities to quickly respond to their needs by either providing a machine, or a new ferry that can help make the crossing very easy.
“We are under GPA and they have been promising to bring a new machine for us, but still nothing has happened,” he asserted.
A boat owner Mamadou Jallow who is a resident of Bansang, in his 20s said that they would appeal for help to have machines that would facilitate their work.
He further stated that each person pays D5 to cross. He said they are facing more challenges since this is where he and his colleagues earn their living to help themselves and their families.
Ousman Mboob noted similar comments. He also called for support from the government and other agencies to help address that issue.
Other travellers, who are seen at the crossing points boarding the ferry, noted difficulties they face when crossing with regard to delay.
“When we board the ferry, we have to participate in pulling the cable which is also a major challenge, and sometimes it is difficult to cross, especially during rainy season when there is a lot of water,” said one of the travellers.