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National Assembly

Debate 1b


Written Answers to Questions - 17 July 2002
(PQ No. B/10 – See after PQ No. B/61)
PASSENGER SERVICE CHARGE - INCREASE
(No. B/11) Mr X. L. Duval (Fourth Member for Curepipe and Midlands) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether in view of the recent increase in the passenger service charge, he will use his good offices towards a reduction of 50 percent thereof for short haul flights.
Reply: I am advised that in view of the heavy investment made by the Airports of Mauritius Co. Ltd. (AML) for the development of the airport, it will not be possible for the company to reduce the passenger service charge for short haul flights. Moreover, the service expected by a passenger for a short haul flight does not differ from those having to take a long haul flight.
It may be noted that senior citizens, students and children below 12 years as well as civil servants proceeding on mission abroad, religious groups and persons proceeding abroad for medical treatment are already exempted from paying the passenger service charge. Passengers travelling to Rodrigues are also exempted from the passenger service charge. Such exemptions represent a shortfall of about Rs50 m. for the company.
(No. B/12) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for Rivière des Anguilles and Souillac) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the MBC information as to the nature of the contract which was entered into by the MBC and Euro RSCG and indicate the total amount paid by the MBC to Euro RSCG.
Reply: I am informed that a contract was entered between the MBC and Euro RSCG for the period 1 October 1999 to 31 July 2000.
The contract was signed for MBC by the then Chairman and Director General of MBC, Messrs Eddie Moutia and Trilock Dwarka respectively, and for Société RSCG Corporate by its President Mr Stéphane Fouks.
The contract was intended for the provision of the following services to MBC by Euro RSCG -
    1. A technical audit comprising evaluation of the existing equipment and an assessment of training needs of the technical staff and formulation of recommendations on the requirements in line with the objectives of management;
    2. Conception and realisation of a monthly news programme, with a definition of the format and the requirements in terms of equipment and production support;
    3. Provision of assistance in the training of the technical staff (cameramen, video editors etc.);
    4. Provision of consultancy services to management of MBC for the implementation of its strategies and policies.
I am advised by the Director General of the MBC that he has been able to establish that so far, only the following services have been provided in execution of the contract.
    1. five days of training to a group of 13 cameramen; and
    2. six days of training on TV Magazine production to a group of 4 news editors.
In fact, according to documents available, at least fifty members of staff in different categories should have been trained. No other services have been provided.
Various payments have been effected during the period 21 October 1999 to 6 September 2000 amounting to a total of FF375,000 or Rs1,401,992.76, out of a total contract value of FF500,000.
I am also informed that MBC has referred the matter to the Economic Crime Office for investigation.
(No. B/13) Mr B. Hookoom (Second Member for Piton and Rivière du Rempart) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether he will state the number of lawyers and legal advisers recruited by Government to work in different Ministries, parastatal bodies and other organisations where Government has a stake -
    1. to draft specific Bills for introduction into Parliament, indicating the terms and conditions of their employment, and
    2. for other purposes, indicating the terms and conditions of their employment.
Reply: The information is being compiled and will be placed in the Library of the Assembly as soon as it is ready.
(No. B/14) Mr B. Hookoom (Second Member for Piton and Rivière du Rempart) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether in regard to the period 1988 to December 1995, he will state -
    1. the number of aliens who applied for Mauritian nationality;
    2. the number of cases thereof which were processed and approved; and
    3. the names of the lawyers who were involved in each specific case which received approval.
Reply: From January 1988 to December 1995, a total number of one thousand four hundred and eighteen (1418) foreigners applied for Mauritian citizenship. Out of this number a total of one thousand and forty six (1046) applications were approved, two hundred and ninety one (291) cases were rejected and eighty one (81) cases were still under process.
As regards part (c) of the question, I am afraid the hon. Member is asking for information which is not at all easy to retrieve.
I am informed that the only way to get the information is to go through each and every file from January 1988 to December 1995. Staff would need to be removed from their normal duties and assigned to this task, to first retrieve the files in question, and then to go through every such file in order to find names of any lawyers who may have been involved.
That would not be very productive work for the limited staff resources available in the Prime Minister's Office.
(PQ No. B/15 - see after PQ No. B/61)
ROCHE BOIS, STE CROIX, CITE LA CURE AND PLAINE VERTE - DRUG PROLIFERATION
(No. B/16) Dr. S. Chady (Second Member for Port Louis Maritime and Port Louis East) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether he will say if there has been an increase in the proliferation of drug trafficking in various regions of the country such as Roche Bois, Ste Croix, Cité La Cure and Plaine Verte and, if so, will he ascertain the causes thereof and indicate the measures taken by the Police and the ADSU to control the situation.
(Vide Reply to PQ. No. B/5)
HADJ PILGRIMS - ARRIVAL ON 12.03.2001
(No. B/17) Dr. S. Chady (Second Member for Port Louis Maritime and Port Louis East) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information from the relevant authorities as to the reasons for the delay encountered by pilgrims on their arrival from Hadj on Monday 12 March at 02.15 p.m. by flight MK 9901.
Reply: I am advised that flight MK 9901 landed in Mauritius on Monday 12 March 2001, at 02.09 a.m. with 291 passengers. 238 came to Mauritius and 53 were on transit to Reunion Island.
I am further advised that there was a delay in the retrieval of luggage by passengers due to the fact that -
    1. the luggage of transit passengers had to be segregated from those coming to Mauritius as this was not done at the port of embarkation; and
    2. the luggage was unusually bulky and heavy.
CITE BARKLY POLICE STATION - REOPENING
(No. B/18) Mr M. Allet (Third Member for Beau Bassin and Petite Rivière) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether, in view of petitions emanating from the inhabitants of Cité Barkly, he will consider the advisability of reopening the existing Police Station there.
Reply: I am advised that the Commissioner of Police has received petitions, from the Secretary and members of the Barkly Community Centre, for the reopening of the Police station at Cité Barkly.
It may be recalled that the Police station, which was commissioned on 01 September 1997, was damaged by fire during the February 1999 riots.
That station provided Police coverage to the following areas:
    1. Cité Barkly;
    2. Part of Mont Roches;
    3. Part of St. Martin;
    4. Part of Chebel;
    5. Grand Malabar; and
    6. Le Bosquet
In the light of the incidents of 1999, the Police consider that it would not be wise to reconstruct the Police station on the same location. Instead, it has been found more appropriate to locate the new Police station on a plot of land adjacent to Serge Alfred Swimming Pool.
The Police consider that the location of the new Police Station on a plot of land adjacent to Serge Alfred Swimming Pool is better than the original location at Cité Barkly.
ROCHE BOIS GOVT. SCHOOL- TEACHERS - ATTACKS BY INDIVIDUALS
(No. B/19) Mr M. Nanhuck (Third Member for Port Louis Maritime and Port Louis East) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether he will make a statement on the incident which occurred on Monday 05 March last when teachers posted at the Emmanuel Anquetil Government School in Roche Bois were mugged outside the school premises and indicate what measures have been taken to prevent a recurrence of same.
Reply: I am advised that on Monday 05 March, on his way to Emmanuel Anquetil Government School, one teacher was attacked by some individuals who tried to snatch his bag.
I am also informed that on Tuesday 27 February, on their way back home from Emmanuel Anquetil Government School, two teachers were attacked by some individuals. One managed to escape whilst the second one had her necklace snatched.
Following these incidents, the Commissioner of Police has been requested to safeguard security of teaching staff, pupils and members of the public in the vicinity of schools, particularly those in Port Louis, especially in the morning and in the afternoon.
Consequently, security measures have been stepped up through the intensification of mobile patrols by the Regular Police and preventive patrols by the Emergency Response Service (ERS).
MINISTRY OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS, CHILD DEVELOPMENT & FAMILY WELFARE - RESOURCE PERSONS AND INSTRUCTORS
(No. B/23) Dr. A. Boolell (Second Member for Vieux Grand Port and Rose Belle) asked the Minister of Women's Rights, Child Development and Family Welfare whether she will state if 50 formatrices from her Ministry have been laid off and, if so, will she give their names and the respective constituencies from which they come.
Reply: I am informed that there is no post of formatrice in the Establishment of my Ministry.
If the hon. Member is referring to resource persons and instructors employed on sessional basis at the Ministry the information is as follows -
    1. Eleven instructors employed on sessional basis to conduct courses in the women centres have been requested to stop the courses as from 15 December 2000 pending the reorganisation of activities and introduction of new courses in the women centres.
    2. On 20 January 2000, PSC's approval was obtained for a list of resource persons to service on a sessional basis up to December 2000. Since 21 June 2000 they were informed of this condition. On 31 December 2000, ten resource persons stopped work.
I am circulating the lists of instructors and resource persons as well as their addresses. (Appendix II)
RODRIGUES - WATER UNIT - POLYPIPES
(No. B/53) Mr A. Nancy (First Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural and Urban Development whether, in view of the fact that there is a lack of spare parts and of 63mm polypipes at the Water Unit in Rodrigues, he will -
    1. take steps to stop the wastage of water due to leakages;
    2. attend to the numerous by-passes at La Fourche, Mangue, Baie du Nord and Piment, which are awaiting connection, to become operational;
    3. arrange for the filter plants at Bigarade and Fond Baie aux Huitres to be put back to use, and
    4. take steps to improve the existing dam at Fond Baie aux Huitres.
Reply: As regards parts (a) & (b), fittings for maintenance are being purchased and quotations are being floated for pipes which will cater for the "by-pass" pipeline in the regions;
With regard to part (c), the Bigarade filter Plant has now been repaired and is operational. Fond Baie aux Huitres filter is in good order, but due to low water pressure, the filter is not operating properly;
As regards part (d), minor works will be carried out to improve the existing dam and provisions will be made in next budget. Meanwhile a new water intake will be constructed uphill at Pavé La Bonté. Such will certainly increase the flow of water and will alleviate the water problem, to those who are served by Fond Baie aux Huitres Dam.
RODRIGUES - LEASES
(No. B/54) Mr A. Nancy (First Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural and Urban Development whether he will state the respective number of leases –
    1. residential;
    2. commercial;
    3. industrial and
    4. agricultural
which have been approved and delivered by his Ministry in Rodrigues from September 2000 to date and indicate if the existing facilities in terms of equipment and manpower are adequate to provide a rapid service to the public and, if not, what remedial action he proposes to take.
Reply: The hon. Member may wish to note tat the number of leases approved by my Ministry does not correspond with the number of leases delivered in view of the fact that a period of time is required by the Cadastral Unit of the Rodrigues Administration to survey the land and draw out the lease agreement.
The number of leases approved by the Minister from September 2000 to9 date is as follows -
    1. Residential leases - 1017
    2. Commercial leases - 1
    3. Industrial leases - 3
    4. Agricultural leases - -
The number of leases issued is as follows:-
    1. Residential leases - 187
    2. Commercial leases - 2
    3. Industrial leases - 6
    4. Agricultural leases - 2
The creation of additional posts, with a view to strengthening the Cadastral Unit of the Rodrigues Administration is being considered in the context of the 2001/2002 estimates. Furthermore, training in the use of modern land surveying equipment {total Station and global positioning System (GPS)} has been provided to the Surveyors in post in Rodrigues for quicker processing of applications.
RODRIGUES - HOUSES - CONSTRUCTIONS
(No. B/55) Mr A. Nancy (First Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural and Urban Development whether he will say if the construction of 200 houses, as proposed in the present Estimates, will start before the next financial year and, if not, will he give the reasons therefor and indicate what rapid action he is taking in that direction.
Reply: The amount of money originally earmarked in the Capital Estimates 2001/2002 under item 'Housing and Rehabilitation Programme' has been reallocated to the item 'roads' to enable the resurfacing of 3.5 km of roads from Grand La Fouche corail to Baie du Nord as tender procedures had already been finalised.
The construction of 200 housing units scheduled for this financial year will start next financial year. Site plans with spot levels in respect of 12 localities were finalised only in January and forwarded to the National Housing Development Company Ltd (NHDC) which is the executing agency for the project. The NHDC will prepare documents, drawings, plans and specifications for the houses. It is expected that works will start early in financial year 2001/2002. Appropriate budgetary provisions would be made in financial year 2001/2002.
RODRIGUES - RESERVOIRS - CONSTRUCTION
(No. B/56) Mr A. Nancy (First Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural and Urban Development whether he will say if the construction of reservoirs at Mt Cali to feed up Oyster Bay, Allée Tamarin and Mt Fanale to feed up Port Mathurin is an immediate priority to increase the stock capacity of water, especially when the 2 desalination plants will soon become operational and, if so, will he indicate when such construction is likely to start.
Reply: A recent study funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was carried out by Lux Consult (Mauritius) Ltd. on the rationalisation, rehabilitation, upgrading and extension of water transmission/distribution network of Rodrigues in view to assess strategically the present and future water requirements of Rodrigues.
The final report which was received in December 2000, focussed in its recommendations on the construction of reservoirs and the installation of desalination plants as short-term plans to cater present and future water requirements.
The reservoirs at Mt. Cali and Mt. Fanale will be vital infrastructures in the context of water distribution in the regions of Oyster Bay, Allée Tamarin and Port Mathurin.
Tender documents for the construction of the reservoirs were sent to the Central Tender Board which has requested on 26 January 2001 for amendments/clarifications to be made. A revised version of the tender document has just been sent to the Central Tender Board. Tenders will be launched as soon as CTB approval is obtained.
Yet, I am informing the House, that Government has agreed to the installation and operation of two desalination plants in Rodrigues, as a short-term and immediate solution to cope with acute and frequent water shortage problems prevailing in Rodrigues.
The desalination plants will be strategically viable when other infrastructures for additional water distribution and mobilisation will be constructed subsequently. The time frame for the completion of one plant is about 15 months.
MINISTRY OF URBAN & RURAL DEVELOPMENT – AWARD OF CONTRACTS
(No. B/57) Mr M. Allet (Third Member for Beau Bassin and Petite Rivière) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural and Urban Development whether he will state if the numerous allegations of mismanagement of funds at the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development concerning the award of contracts have been investigated into and, if so, will he make a statement on the remedial action he has initiated and circulate a list of contracts awarded for drains construction during the last 2 financial years with details as to the names of the contractors and the category of the works.
Reply: Following allegations made by Mr. S. L. Naidoo of Max Rohan Street, Beau Bassin, in two letters dated the 15 December 2000 and 15 January 2001 to the effect that construction works (mainly drains at Morcellement Carlos, Tamarin, awarded on 27 October 1999, and Cotteau Raffin, Case Noyale awarded on 2 February 2000) had not been carried out according to contract specifications, investigations and further surveys have been effected by my Ministry on works done. These have shown that the specifications have not been complied with by the contractor, Mr N. Vunkajungum of Jungum Multi-Enterprises Ltd. Such internal investigations are still going on, as the Engineer, who is responsible for the supervision of the relevant works, has been on leave abroad and is resuming duty this week. Moreover, the contractor has been requested for clarifications on whatever discrepancies that have been noted between actual works done by him and the works that had been specified as per contract.
Remedial action will then be taken upon completion of the investigations. A list of contracts awarded for drains construction during the last 2 financial years 1999-2000, 2000-2001 is being placed in the Library.
I wish to draw the attention of the House that these allegations relate to contracts awarded prior to September, 2000. In the interest of transparency, all relevant information will be provided to all parties concerned upon request. I can assure you that all remedial and disciplinary action will be taken upon completion of investigations.
POINTE AUX ROCHES, ST FELIX – PAS GEOMETRIQUES – CATTLE SQUATTING
(No. B/58) Mrs D. Perrier (Third Member for Belle Rose and Quatre Bornes) asked the Minister of Housing and lands whether, in regard to the owner of a herd of cattle squatting Pas Geometriques at Pointe aux Roches, St Felix, he will now say whether the said owner has vacated the land.
Reply: Inspite of a Notice to Squatter served on 12.12.2000 , the owner of the herd of cattle squatting on PG Pointe aux Roches has not vacated the State land. He has subsequently served a Notice on the Ministry through his Attorney. The matter is being pursued in consultation with the State Law Office.
BELLE MARE – STONE CRUSHER
(No. B/59) Mr M. Nanhuck (Third Member for Port Louis Maritime and Port Louis East) asked the Minister of Environment whether he has been made aware that a foreign national in the name of Benedetti is unlawfully operating a stone crusher at Belle Mare and, if so, indicate what action has been taken in connection therewith.
Reply:1.(a) I have been informed that no expatriate in the name of Benedetti has been granted a work permit to work in Mauritius.
Enterprises J. B. Benedetti, dealing in the construction sector has been awarded a contract for the construction of a golf course for the Constance Hotel Services Group. It is a duly incorporated foreign company in Mauritius since 14 August 2000.
PQ. B/61 is related to the construction of a golf course for the Constance Hotel Services Group. In fact, my Ministry had issued an environmental clearance subject to a number of conditions for the construction of a golf course by the Constance Hotel Services Group.
During a follow up site visit inspection carried out by officers of my Ministry, it was observed that a mobile stone crushing plant was in operation.
A Prohibition Notice was served on 9 March 2001 on the promoter and all stone crushing activities have since been stopped.
My Ministry is now monitoring the situation closely in consultation with the State Law Office.
CHAMAREL/ CASE NOYALE – DIRECT BUS SERVICE
(No. B/60) Dr. A. N. Issimdar (Second Member for Rivière des Anguilles and Souillac) asked the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping whether, with a view to relieving inconveniences caused to the public, particularly to students, he will arrange for a bus service to be provided between Chamarel and Case Noyale without going through Baie du Cap and Le Morne, which would result in a decrease of more than 10 kms of the distance to be otherwise travelled and thus reduce the stress caused.
Reply: I am informed that presently the locality of Chamarel is served by buses of the National Transport Corporation and individual bus operators on a regular basis.
However, all these buses proceed through Baie du Cap and Le Morne over a distance of 11 kms. In fact, no direct service is provided between Chamarel and Case Noyale (which is 3.5 kms apart) because of the topography of the region (there are steep gradients and sharp bends) and therefore cannot be safely served by large buses (50 seaters and above).
I have requested the National Transport Authority to explore the possibility of granting road service licences to the bus cooperative society operating in the region or to the National Transport Corporation.
BELLE MARE – STONECRUSHER – EIA LICENCE
(No. B/61) Mrs D. Perrier (Third Member for Belle Rose & Quatre Bornes) asked the Minister of Environment whether, in view of the fact that a stonecrusher is operating without an EIA licence at Belle Mare, he will say what action he has taken or proposes to take to put a stop to its activities.
(Vide reply to P.Q. B/59)
INDENTURED LABOUR – COMMITTEE - RECOMMENDATIONS
(No. B/10) Dr. J. B. David (Fourth Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance whether he will say if the Committee chaired by him to find an appropriate date to recall the memory of indentured labour has made its recommendations and, if so, will he say which date has been recommended to be proclaimed a public holiday and, if not, will he indicate if the Committee has given reasons for its hesitation.
Reply: The Committee referred to is still at work under my chairmanship. The question of hesitation, as a matter of fact, does not arise.
DETAINEE L. V. – SSRN HOSPITAL – ADMISSION
(No. B/15) Dr. S. Chady (Second Member for Port Louis Maritime & Port Louis East) asked the Minister Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare and Reform Insitutions whether he will make a statement on the circumstances in which one Mr L. V., aged 37, detained at the prison of Vacoas and Beau Bassin, has had to be admitted in last February to SSR National Hospital for a surgical intervention following a cerebral haemorrhage.
Reply: Mr. L. V. aged 37 was arrested on 7.02.2001 at 22.00 hrs and was detained in Vacoas Police Station. I am informed by the Police department, that Mr L. V. at the time of arrest bore bruises at both his forearms. The next day i.e 8.02.2001 he was sent to the Beau Bassin Prison where he arrived at about 14.30 hrs. He was kept in the reception cell with other detainees up to 17.30 hrs when he was seen by the Special
Reception Board.
While still in the presence of the Board Mr L. V. got a fit and after having been seen by a Prison Hospital Officer, he was admitted to the Prison Hospital ward at about 18.00 hrs on the advice of the Prison Medical Officer. At about 23.00 hrs, detainee L. V. was still not asleep. Later on his blood pressure rose and he started to show sign of weakness in his left upper and lower limbs. At about 1.15 hrs the Nursing Officer informed the Hospital Medical Officer who was on call and the latter gave instructions by phone to transfer the detainee to Dr. Jeetoo Hospital. The ambulance left Beau Bassin Prison at 2.50 a.m. for Dr. Jeetoo Hospital where he was admitted under prison escort.
However, upon reception of a liberate order from the District Court of Curepipe, he was released from prison escort later during the same day.
(No. A/1) Mr D. Hurnam (Third Member for Pamplemousses and Triolet) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether, in regard to the re-exportation of 1990 grammes of gold chains as per bill No. 34539 dated 04 October 1999 from the freeport involving the Kalandi Jewellery Ltd. and inquired into by the then Unified Revenue Board, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to -
  1. whether Messrs Anil Kumar Patani, Ahmad Reshad Immabaccus and Ms Bibi Nahima Chuckoo were called for interview and whether they were arrested thereafter and, if not, on whose orders they were allowed to leave the URB;
  2. whether they were prosecuted; and
  3. whether DPS Dabysing concerned with the inquiry was transferred and, if so, when and upon whose orders and why.
Reply: With regard to part (a), Mr Anil Kumar Jayantilal Patani, Mr Ahmad Reshad Immambaccus and Ms Bibi Nahima Chuckoo were called for inquiry by the then Economic Crime Investigation Division (ECID) on this matter on Tuesday 16 November 1999.
With regard to part (b), after interview, Mr Anil Kumar Jayantilal Patani was allowed to leave as the inquiry revealed that he was not implicated in the case.
Mr Immambaccus was arrested on 22 November 1999 and provisionally charged with an alleged offence of smuggling; he was bailed out on 25 November 1999 after furnishing a surety of Rs10,000.
Ms Chuckoo was provisionally charged on 25 November 1999 with an alleged offence of possession of smuggled jewels and released after furnishing a surety of Rs10,000.
On 22 December 2000, the Director of Public Prosecutions advised prosecution against Mr Immambaccus for smuggling and he is now standing trial.
Action against Ms Chuckoo will be decided upon by Director of Public Prosecutions after disposal of the case against Mr Immambaccus by the Court.
As for part (c), I am advised that on 19 November 1999, Sgt. 186 Dabysing was transferred by the Commissioiner of Police as his services was required elsewhere.
As the hon. Member is aware, section 71 (4) of our Constitution confers on the Commissioner of Police the sole power of determining the use and controlling the operations of the Police Force. Any transfer of staff forms part of the operational responsibilities of the Commissioner of Police and it would not be proper to request for the reasons each time a member of the Police Force is transferred.
(No. A/2) Mr S. Sakaram (Second Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping whether, in regard to the project for the installation of traffic lights at the crossroad of Glen Park, Vacoas, he will -
    1. give details regarding any study carried out by his Ministry on the project and
    2. say when it will be implemented.
Reply: The installation of traffic lights at crossroad does not necessarily imply that a detailed study has to be carried out. In fact, during a recent site visit effected by officers of my Ministry, it was revealed that traffic signals have become a must at the crossroad of Glen Park, Vacoas.
However, some few weeks prior to the installation of the traffic lights, a traffic count will be carried out to measure flow and turning movements so as to determine the phasing and signal timings.
Provision has been made in the next financial year 2001/02 for the execution of the works.
(No. A/3) Mr M. Chumroo (First Member for Port Louis North & Montagne Longue) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural & Urban Development whether, in view of the impending danger to the public at Tomasin and Tosca Bridges, he will say what emergency measures he is proposing to take to remedy the situation and indicate if it is intended to construct a better bridge at Tomasin and, if so, when.
Reply: I am advised that the two bridges at Tosca and Tomasin, Crève Coeur are very old ones and their reconstruction had been contemplated a few years ago. Both projects have been included in the Rural and Urban Development Division's Programme in financial year 2000/01.
In regard to Tomasin Bridge, clearance for re-alignment had been obtained from the Ministry of Housing & Lands in August 2000. A site visit effected on 8 March 2001 by officers of the Rural and Urban Development (RUD) Division, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping, the Forest Department and the Police Department has revealed that the bridge at Tomasin is in a bad state and would have to be reconstructed urgently. As emergency measures, the District Council North has been requested to install metal props and bollards on both sides of the bridge. Tender documents are currently under preparation and the contract for re-alignment and construction of a new bridge at Tomasin will be awarded on a turn-key basis.
As for Tosca Bridge, a study is being carried out by the Rural and Urban Development Division and the Ministry of Housing and Lands for re-alignment.
MONTAGNE LONGUE HOSPITAL - INFRASTUCTURE
(No. A/4) Mr M. Chumroo (First Member for Port Louis North & Montagne Longue) asked the Minister of Health & Quality of Life whether, in view of the fact that, despite public criticism, the infrastructure of Montagne Longue Hospital has remained unchanged in that during heavy rainfall hospital staff and patients have to encounter numerous difficulties, he will make a statement on the immediate measures he proposes to take to remedy the situation.
Reply: Action has already been taken. Following my visit, in the company of the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping, on 19 October 2000, the decision has been taken to renovate the female ward. In fact, a contract has already been awarded and the Development Works Corporation is currently proceeding with the renovation. Thereafter, the administrative block will be pulled down and a new building will be erected.
LA BASTILLE - PRISONERS & DETAINEES ON REMAND
(No. A/5) Mr R. Daureeawoo (Third Member for Montagne Blanche & GRSE) asked the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity and Senior Citizens Welfare and Reform Institutions whether he will state the names of prisoners and detainees kept on remand at La Bastille, indicating the period of their respective detention during the period 01 January 1999 to 31 December 2000.
Reply: The answer is being circulated. (Appendix III)
PETIT PAQUET-MONTAGNE BLANCHE/BRAMSTHAN-BEL AIR – RESURFACING OF ROADS
(No. A/6) Mr R. Daureeawoo (Third Member for Montagne Blanche & GRSE) asked the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping whether, in view of the deplorable state of the roads following excavation works undertaken along the roads leading from Petit Paquet to Montagne Blanche and from Bramsthan to Bel Air through Ecroignard and Caroline, he will state when it is proposed to start resurfacing the said roads.
Reply: Mauritius Telecom is actually excavating the road from Petit Paquet to Montagne Blanche and the works will be completed by end of March 2001. The estimated cost for the resurfacing of 5.4 km of road is Rs9.5 m., and the works have been included in the Ministry's programme. However, the works would be carried out subject to availability of funds.
With regard to the road from Bramsthan to Bel Air, the construction of footpaths drains at Ecroignard and excavation works by Mauritius Telecom are scheduled to be completed by end of March. The resurfacing of 3.5 km of road would start in April 2001.
MIDLANDS DAM – WORK PROGRESS
(No. A/7) Mr M. Dowarkasing (Third Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Minister of Public Utilities whether he will make a statement on the progress of work at the Midlands Dam and indicate –
a.    whether the time frame allotted therefor is being respected;
b.    whether the financial allotment is according to schedule;
c.    the major difficulties, if any, encountered so far; and
d.   whether the presence of the melting plant (fonderie) at La Pipe will not constitute a permanent danger in terms of pollution to the water in the dam.
Reply: With regard to part (a), the construction of the Midlands Dam is progressing satisfactorily. Up to the end of February 2001, around 35% of overall works have been completed. The time frame allotted is being respected and the Midlands Dam Project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2002 as scheduled.
Regarding part (b), the payment is being made on a monthly basis depending on the amount of work executed. By the end of January 2001, payment of about 35% of the contract value has been made which is according to schedule.
As for part (c), the difficulties encountered so far are as follows:-
                                                     i.        the old existing earthen embankment which was constructed around 1926-1930 had to be removed for technical reasons on the advice of the consultant and hence could not be incorporated in the new dam as originally envisaged; and
                                                    ii.        fine aggregates, namely sand and aggregates up to a size of 20 mm, produced from the quarry at Mount d'Hauvillard could not be used for production of concrete due to the excessive content of iron pyrites/sulphates, as such fine aggregates are being obtained from other alternative suitable sources outside the project area.
Concerning part (d), the proposed melting plant (fonderie) is located downstream about 1.2 km from the Midlands Dam. I am advised by the Ministry of Environment that the promoter has indicated that he will manufacture iron bars for the construction industry and not special steel such as stainless steel, which is a polluting activity. It is noted that the process is a dry one and does not generate industrial effluents. Water will not be used in the processing, hence no generation of waste water. I am further advised by the Ministry of Environment that, as per the Environment Protection Act, an EIA licence is not required for the operation of melting plant (fonderie). However, the Ministry of Environment has issued a no objection letter for the grant of a Pioneer Status Enterprise Certificate, taking into consideration the location of the site and the mitigating measures proposed by the promoter. Various conditions are also imposed by the Ministry of Environment and the latter will ensure proper follow-up on the impacts the project may have on the environment.
I am laying on the Table of the National Assembly the project status as at 28.02.2001 of the Midlands Dam.
CUREPIPE/MIDLANDS - PROJECTS
(No. A/8) Mr M. Dowarkasing (Third Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural & Urban Development whether he will state –
    1. the budget earmarked under MURD for the Constituency of Curepipe/Midlands for the financial year 2001-2002;
    2. the projects identified, their respective costs and the proposed time of completion; and
    3. the projects proposed for the financial year 2000-2001 which have not so far been implemented.
Reply: I am advised that the Rural & Urban Development Division (RUD) of the Ministry of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural & Urban Development has prepared project proposals for the Constituency of Curepipe/Midlands for financial year 2001-2002 which is estimated to cost Rs92.1 m. Funds will be earmarked on the basis of provision to be made in the forthcoming Capital Budget.
As regards part (b), the list of projects identified is being placed in the Library.
As regards part (c), a list of projects that have been/are being implemented in Constituency No. 17 during financial year 2000-2001 which amounts to Rs8,073,810.10 and the list of projects that has not been implemented during the current financial year is being placed in the Library of the National Assembly.
RIVIERE DU POSTE-PRIMARY SCHOOL - ROAD - PAVEMENT
(No. A/9) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for Rivière des Anguilles & Souillac) asked the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping whether he will state what action is being taken regarding the construction of pavement along the road leading to the primary school of Rivière du Poste.
Reply: The New Grove Road (B82) passes through the village of Rivière du Poste. About 450m of footpaths and drains have been constructed along the right hand side of the road from Rivière du Poste bridge towards Savanne road (A9) and 80m on the left hand side from the school to the bridge.
About 2000m of footpaths and drains remain to be done and the estimated cost is Rs10 m. It is proposed to construct the footpaths and drains in phases subject to availability of funds.
GRAND BOIS ROAD/BOIS CHERI – SPEED HUMPS
(No. A/10) Mr V. Baloomoody (Third Member for Rivière des Anguilles & Souillac) asked the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping whether, in view of the fact that the traffic along the Grand Bois Road to Bois Chéri is a fast moving one, he will consider the advisability of arranging for appropriate speed humps to be placed along such road for the safety of road users.
Reply: I have already given instructions to the Road Safety Unit of my Ministry to carry out a data investigation on the Grand Bois Road to Bois Chéri which is a classified road and is commonly known as the B88 Grand Bassin Road.
This exercise which will start by next week will reveal the number of accidents which have occurred there and whether they were related to speed. After that, in-depth site surveys will be made to determine the most appropriate traffic calming measures that may be taken which needs not necessarily be restricted to speed humps.
NATIONAL COAST GUARD – OFFICERS – NUMBER, UNIT AT BEACHES ETC.
(No. A/11) Mr A. K. Gungah (Second Member for Grand' Baie & Poudre d'Or) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home Affairs & Minister of External Communications whether he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to the number of officers affected to the National Coast Guard and consider the advisability of arranging for a special unit thereof to be placed at special beaches in view of the numerous drowning cases reported recently.
Reply: I am advised that, as at 16 March 2001, 677 officers, including 49 recruits, were affected to the National Coast Guard.
125 recruits are planned for induction by the end of March 2001, which would bring the strength of the National Coast Guard to about 800 by the end of 2001.
NCG elements are at all times present on the main public beaches for patrol and life saving duties. Afloat patrols are maintained within the lagoons to provide protection to swimmers and vacationers.
The security measures on beaches have been further enhanced with the introduction of the beach and coastal bike patrol. All personnel of this unit would be trained life savers and would be equipped for rapid intervention in cases of difficulty at sea.
I am further informed that for the prevention of drowning, the National Coast Guard in its re-structuring, has addressed the issue of safety of people on the beaches, as one of its key result areas and the following actions are being progressively introduced:-
    1. Additional Craft for Lagoon Patrol. The procurement process is in its final stages for the purchase of 15 additional crafts to augment lagoon patrol. The provision of these crafts would provide the means for proactive patrols along the beach for safety of swimmers in addition to other national security imperatives.
    2. Establishment of Additional Quick Response Group Team in the South. An additional quick response group comprising qualified divers is being established at the Maritime Training Establishent of the National Coast Guard at Le Chaland for rapid intervention/response in life saving role, especially for the region from Souillac to Belle Mare.
    3. Construction of NCG Posts. Phased construction of new appropriately positioned NCG posts along with vigilance towers is under consideration for implementation during the next financial year.
    4. Training of Personnel. It is proposed to train all personnel of the NCG in basic life saving and first aid duties. All recruits are being put through this course at the basic induction training level.
    5. General Awareness of Public. The public is being sensitised with regard to imperatives of safety whilst involved in swimming in the sea. Notices declaring the designated beaches as "dangerous for swimming" are being erected for prominent display.
    6. Rationalisation of Pleasure Craft Activity. In collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, pleasure craft activity is being rationalised with emphasis on safety.
CONSTITUENCY NO. 20 – DRAINAGE PROBLEMS
(No. A/12) Mr M. Allet (Third Member for Beau Bassin & Petite Rivière) asked the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping whether he will make a statement in regard to drainage problems reported at his Ministry in respect of constituency No. 20.
Reply: The Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping has received complaints regarding flooding problems at St Martin Road, Mont Roches, Raymond Rivet Street and Pope Hennessy Road. However, St Martin Road and Raymond Rivet Street fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government, Rodrigues and Urban and Rural Development and the complaint has been referred thereto.
As regards Pope Hennessy Road, the Ministry has started the cleaning of the road side drains and the possibility of improving the drain is being examined.
ALBION – MORCELLEMENT BELLE VUE (EX BELLE VUE PHARE HOTEL) – ABANDONED BUILDING
(No. A/13) Mr M. Allet (Third Member for Beau Bassin & Petite Rivière) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural and Urban Development whether he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the District Council of Black River, information as to the action initiated against the owner of an abandoned building (ex-Belle Vue Phare Hotel) at Morcellement Belle Vue, Albion, which has become a source of nuisance for the inhabitants of the region.
Reply: I am advised by the Black River District Council that the matter has been referred to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping for the carrying out of a survey of the building and implementing appropriate measures. I am further advised that necessary action would be taken by the Council in the light of the report of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport & Shipping.