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National Assembly

Debate 6b


Written Answers to Questions - 24 April 2001
OUTER ISLANDS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION -GENERAL MANAGER
(No. B/252) Mr M. Dulloo (Third Member for Grand' Baie and Poudre d'Or) asked the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether, in regard to the post of General Manager of the Outer Islands Development Corporation, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to -
(a) whether the post was advertised before being filled up and, if so when and how;
(b) the person appointed thereto and when;
(c) his qualifications and experience, and
(d) his terms and conditions of employment, including remuneration and all fringe benefits.
Reply: As per Section 9(1)(b) of Outer Islands Development Corporation Act No. 41 of 1982, the General Manager is appointed by the Board with the approval of the Minister responsible for Outer Islands. The post was not advertised as was also the case for the previous General Managers, namely Mr. N. Gopaul in 1996 and Mr. V. Gokhool in 1998.
Mr Purmanund Jhugroo has been appointed General Manager of Outer Islands Development Corporation with effect from 17 November 2000.
Mr Jhugroo is a qualified Pharmacist and has also been the Mayor of Vacoas/Phoenix from 1991-1993.
His terms and conditions of employment are as follows-
(i) Duration of Contract: Intitial period 2 years; renewable
(ii) Salary: Rs 28,070 + Extra Remuneration monthly
(iii) Disturbance Allowance: Rs 10,000 monthly
(iv) Entertainment Allowance: Rs 3,500 monthly
(v) Telephone Allowance: Rs 200 monthly
(vi) Travel Grant: Rs 3,850 monthly
(vii) Gratuity: 25% of annual salary at the end of each completed year of service
(viii) Passage Benefit: 5% of annual salary after completion of 12 months of service
(ix) Car Benefit: Use of Corporation's vehicle
(x) Leave Entitlement -
(a) Sick Leave: 21 days for every year
(b) Casual/Annual Vacation leave: 21 days for every year of contract
OUTER ISLANDS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION - HEALTH CENTRE, SCHOOL & STAFF QUARTERS - CONSTRUCTION
(No. B/253) Mr M. Dulloo (Third Member for Grand' Baie and Poudre d'Or) asked the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether, in regard to the Outer Islands Development Corporation, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to whether the Corporation is constructing a school, a dispensary and two staff quarters and if so, will he ascertain –
(a) when;
(b) the costs thereof, and
(c) the progress achieved so far.
Reply:
(a) The Outer Islands Development Corporation has, on 13 April 2001, awarded a contract to the Development Works Corporation for the construction of a school, a health centre, a Staff quarters and a Labourer's quarters.
(b) Total cost of the project amounts to Rs11,499,316.
(c) The Development Works Corporation's workers left for Agalega on 17 April 2001 to implement the project which is expected to be completed by 31 August 2001.
MBC - RELIGIOUS FESTIVITIES - SELECTION OF MOVIES
(No. B/254) Dr. A. Boolell (Second Member for Vieux Grand Port and Rose Belle) 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 and make a statement on the policy of the MBC regarding the selection of movies to be screened on the occasion of religious festivities.
Reply: I am advised by the MBC that the Corporation does not have any formal policy regarding the programming of movies/serials to be screened on the occasion of religious festivities.
However, the MBC is currently working on the elaboration of broadcasting standards and a code of practice, which will also contain guidelines for programming during any religious festivities.
I am further advised that, it has been a long-standing practice for the MBC to select religious films, which are relevant to the festivals, whenever such films are available. This practice is particularly maintained when these religious festivals are national festivals. Unfortunately the choice of religious films is very limited, making the programming of such films very difficult.
Moreover, the MBC does not only focus on films during religious festivities, but also broadcast live or recorded cultural or religious ceremonies, documentaries and even serials when available.
RODRIGUES – CYCLONE ‘EVARISTE' - METEOROLOGICAL BULLETIN
(No. B/255) Mr J. Von-Mally (Third Member for Rodrigues) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home affairs and Minister of External Communications whether, in regard to the meteorological bulletin broadcast in Rodrigues, he will –
(a) state the reason/s for the non availability of same on radio during the passage of cyclone Evariste near Rodrigues earlier this month; and
(b) arrange for the said bulletin to be available on TV.
Reply: Sir, I am advised that the first bulletin in respect of cyclone Evariste for Rodrigues was issued on Thursday 5 April 2001 at 1615 hrs and the last bulletin giving the all-clear signal was issued at 1010 hrs on Saturday 7 April 2001.
A class III warning was issued on Saturday 7 April at 0415 hours and the cyclone bulletin was regularly updated every three hours.
There was no problem of broadcast except on the 7 April when AM Radio was being broadcast on 1206 KHz, and was on air up to 0200 hrs, at which time it broke down due to a fault on the antenna system at the Citronelle Radio Station.
In order to keep the Rodriguan population informed, FM Radio on 97.3 MHz was switched on to continue the radio programme normally including broadcast of cyclone bulletins.
Even on that channel, the programme was, however, interrupted several times due to CEB power failure.
I am also informed that, on that day, the meteorological bulletins were broadcast on AM Radio 684 KHz and 819 Khz every half hour from 0530 hrs up to the end of the cyclone warning at 1010 hrs.
With regard to part (b), I am advised that the meteorological bulletins were broadcast on Rodrigues TV with captions and radio sound from Citronelle Radio Station.
(PQ No. B/270 – see after B/282)
TOBACCONIST SHOPS – OPENING HOURS
(No. B/273)        Mr M. Chumroo (First Member for Port Louis North and Montagne Longue) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home affairs and Minister of External Communications whether, with a view to further narrowing down the problems arising out of alcoholism, he will consider the advisability of amending the law governing the opening hours of tobacconist shops to bring it at par with those governing licensees operating as general retailers, inasmuch as certain licensees of tobacconist shops manage to get liquor from adjoining general retailer licensees for sale to the public.
Reply: Sir, I am informed that the licensing of both retailers of tobacco and retailers of liquor, rum and compounded spirits – off premises are governed by the provisions of the Local Government Act. The actual opening hours of retailers of liquor, rum and compounded spirits are governed by Regulations under the Excise Act. The opening hours of retailers of tobacco are governed by the Shops Act which provides that "A victualler, retailer of manufactured tobacco or seller of non-intoxicating beverages shall not allow his shop to remain open for the serving of customers later than 1.00 am on any day".
          I have been informed that in certain cases, when persons already holding a licence of "retailer of manufactured tobacco", have applied for a licence to operate as "retailer of liquor, rum and compounded spirits - off premises", in the same premises, licences have been granted in spite of the objection raised by the Police. However, I agree with the hon. Member that the problem needs to be addressed.
          My attention has been drawn to the fact that a request was made, in August 1995, by the then Ministry of Industry & Commerce for the amendment of the Excise Regulations to bring them in line with the Shops (Hours of Opening) Regulations.
The suggestion of the hon. Member has been retained and will be examined with the Authorities concerned.
AML CO LTD. – CHAIRMAN, DIRECTORS/FINANCIAL SITUATION AS AT 17.04.01
(No. B/282) Mr R. Daureeawoo     (Third Member for Montagne Blanche & GRSE) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence & Home affairs and Minister of External Communications whether, in regard to Airports of Mauritius Co. Ltd., he will, for the benefit of the House –
(a) obtain information as to the names of its Chairman and of its Directors, together with their respective salaries and emoluments;
(b) state if any complaint has been made to the effect that it has not operated within the parameters of its objects; and
(c) make a statement in respect of its financial situation as at 17 April 2001.
Reply: Sir, the names of the Chairman and Board Directors of Airports of Mauritius Co. Ltd. together with fees payable to them are being tabled.
I am advised that no complaint has been received to the effect that AML has not operated within the parameters of its objects.
I am informed by the Airports of Mauritius Co. Ltd. that the company, though modestly profitable, is experiencing serious cash flow problems as it has to repay loans amounting to about Rs1.5 billion contracted from European Investment Bank, the National Infrastructure Development Fund and commercial banks, to meet the cost of present and future infrastructural development works at the airport. In addition, it has paid a sum of Rs1 billion to Government for the acquisition of assets. The payment was made in two instalments of Rs500 m. each, in June 1999 and in June 2000 respectively. The present Board, appointed on 31 January 2001, is taking corrective measures to remedy the situation.
ILE DES DEUX COCOS, BLUE BAY - HOTEL CONSTRUCTION - EIA LICENCE
          (No. B/270) Mr F. Abdoola (Third Member for Stanley and Rose Hill) asked the Minister of Environment whether in view of the fact that the comments of the EIA Committee on the Follies Project at Ile aux Deux Cocos are unfavourable, he will state -
(a) if the Naiade Resorts Group will be ordered to stop construction works; and
(b) whether Government intends to claim compensation for damage caused to the marine park.
Reply: As regards part (a), an application for an EIA licence in respect of the construction of a hotel complex on the islet of Ile des Deux Cocos at Blue Bay along with a docking bay on the mainland was submitted on November 2000. This application has not been approved by my Ministry.
          No construction with regard to the hotel complex itself has been started.
          However, on 31 August 2000, a complaint was received at the Department of Environment of my Ministry with regard to works being carried out on the mainland at Blue Bay. The matter was investigated and it was observed that dredging works had been initiated for the construction of a marina without the necessary permits. In pursuance of section 59 of the Environment Protection Act, a Prohibition Notice was accordingly served on 12 September 2000. The works on site stopped since then. The attention of Naiade Resorts was drawn to the fact that the proposed marina required an EIA licence, as provided for under the First Schedule of the Environment Protection Act.
          With regard to part (b) of the question, Naiade Resorts has been instructed by my Ministry on 29 September 2000 to reinstate the excavated and dredged area along the shore on the mainland as per conditions spelt out by the Ministry of Fisheries.
          The conditions included –
(i) the installation of two layers of geotextile screens to be placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Fisheries;
(ii) the laying of gabion installations to prevent sediment input into the marine park;
(iii) the replanting of the cleared area on the mainland to further retain the soil during heavy rains.
My Ministry, along with the Ministry of Fisheries are monitoring the situation closely and will also ensure that all the damages done to the marine park be redressed by the promoters under provisions of the Environment Protection Act.
VACOAS - POLICE STATION - CONSTRUCTION
(No. A/36) Mr S. Sakaram (Second Member for Vacoas and Floreal) asked the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Home Affairs and Minister of External Communications whether in regard to the project for the construction of a new Police Station at Vacoas, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to –
(a) when construction works are likely to start; and
(b) the total costs of the project
Reply: The present Vacoas Police Station building being in a bad state, provision has been made for a new Police Station to be included in the proposed new sub-district Police Headquarters at Vacoas. The plans for the project have already been finalised and approved by the Building Plans Committee of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Inland Transport on 18 April 2000. Tender documents are expected to be finalised by mid-August 2001 and construction work is expected to start by January 2002.
The estimated cost of the project is Rs25 m.
GLEN PARK, VACOAS - SPORTS COMPLEX - CONSTRUCTION
(No. A/37) Mr S. Sakaram (Second Member for Vacoas and Floreal) asked the Minister of Youth and Sports whether in regard to the sports complex under construction at Glen Park, Vacoas, he will state the total cost of the project, indication when it is likely to be completed.
Reply: The contract awarded for the construction of a sports complex at Vacoas is for an amount of Rs20,360,600 inclusive of VAT and a contingency sum of Rs1 m.
Work is scheduled to be completed by 3 May 2001.
MGI - COUNCIL - MEETINGS
(No. A/38) Mr A. K. Gungah (Second Member for Grand Baie and Poudre d'Or) asked the Minister of Education and Scientific Research whether in regard to the Council of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI), he will, for the benefit of the House and for the period 01 January 1996 to 31 December 2000 give -
(a) the number of times it was convened; and
(b) the number of times its meetings were postponed and the reasons thereafter.
Reply: The reply is as follows -
(a) 39 meetings of the MGI Council were convened for period January 1996 to 31 December 2000; and
(b) 12 of these meetings were postponed because of lack of quorum.
MGI - APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE MEETINGS AND RECRUITMENT
(No. A/39) Mr A. K. Gungah (Second Member for Grand Baie and Poudre d'Or) asked the Minister of Education and Scientific Research whether he will, for the benefit of the House and, in regard to the Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) -
(a) for the period 01 January 1996 to 31 December 2000 ascertain the number of times its Appointments Committee met and the number of recruitments made as a result thereof, and
(b) ascertain the present number of vacancies on its establishment and the reason/s of their not being filled up.
Reply: As regards part (a), the Appointments Committee of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute met only twice of the period 1 January 1996 to December 2000 and 21 recruitments were made.
Regarding part (b) of the question, the present number of vacancies is 187. Following instructions from my predecessor, the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research advised MGI to stay action on the filling of vacant posts pending the setting up of the New MGI Council. However, the new council was only set up in January this year and an Appointments Committee has been constituted in March 2001. The committee is now actively working.
CUREPIPE AND MIDLANDS - SPORTS INFRASTRUCTURES
          (No. A/40) Mr M. Dowarkasing (Third Member for Curepipe and Midlands) asked the Minister of Youth and Sports whether he will state if he proposes to put up sports infrastructures in the constituency of Curepipe and Midlands and also whether he intends to upgrade the existing ones in the same constituency.
          Reply: My Ministry is primarily responsible for the construction of sports infrastructure at national levels. However, every endeavour is also being made to provide adequate sports infrastructure on a regional basis in the 12 sports regions of the country.
          The George V Stadium is under the responsibility of my Ministry and the plans for its use are being reviewed. As regards repair and upgrading of other existing sports infrastructure, these would have to be undertaken by the authorities concerned.
          At present, there is no proposal for the setting up of new sports infrastructure in the regions of Curepipe and Midlands by the Ministry.
BARRISTERS, ATTORNEYS, LEGAL CONSULTANTS - FEES PAYABLE FROM 1.6.1996 TO DEC 2000
          (No. A/41) Mr G. Paya (Second Member for Curepipe and Midlands) asked the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice & Human Rights whether he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain information as to the names of barristers, attorneys and legal consultants whose services have been retained by each parastatal body, extra-budgetary unit, and/or financial public enterprise and the fees payable thereto on a yearly basis starting from 01 June 1996 up to 31 December 2000.
          Reply: The required information is being compiled and will be circulated in the National Assembly when the exercise is completed.
VACOAS-CANDOS - TRAFFIC LIGHTS
          (No. A/42) Mr P. Roopun (Third Member for Savanne and Black River) asked the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping whether he has received representations from the inhabitants concerned for the placing of traffic lights at -
(a) the junction of Royal Road, Candos and La Paix Road, leading to Residence Kennedy;
(b) Royal Road, Balance, Surinam, and
(c) the junction of Palma Road, Gaby Lane and Ramdanee Avenue (Calimaye Road), in the constituency of Savanne and Black River and, if so, will he state the measures which he intends to take in each case and indicate the time frame therefore.
Reply: The installation of traffic lights is one among the traffic calming measures which is being initiated by my Ministry.
Requests for such measures are being made to my Ministry almost on a daily basis from various localities throughout the island.
Indeed, representations have been received from the following localities for the installation of traffic lights -
1. Junction of Vacoas-Candos Road/SSR Avenue/La Paix Road.
2. Junction of Palma Road/Ramdanee Avenue.
Arrangement is being made for traffic lights to be installed at Junction of Vacoas-Candos/SSR Avenue/La Paix Road, Junction of Palma Road/Ramdanee Avenue during the next financial year.
I wish to point out that no similar request has been made as regards junction of Chemin Grenier Road/Chamouny Road.                                         
However, I had the opportunity to effect a site visit in the Constituency No. 14 in the presence of my colleague, the hon. Minister of Public Utilities and other forces vives of the locality to see de visu the different areas where traffic calming measures can be taken. Indeed some measures such as the installation of humps and rumple strips have already been effected. It should be pointed out that the installation of traffic lights and any other measures are implemented on a priority basis following recommendations made by the Traffic Management Unit/Road Safety Unit of My Ministry.
CASE NOYALE - PUBLIC BEACH - UPLIFTMENT
          (No. A/43) Mr P. Roopun (Third Member for Savanne and Black River) asked the Minister of Local Government, Rodrigues, and Rural & Urban Development whether he will consider taking measures for the uplifting of the public beach of Case Noyale, near the fish landing station.
          Reply: In accordance with section 59 of the Local Government Act, 1989, the Ministry of Local Government, Rodrigues and Rural & Urban Development is responsible for the management of public beaches.
          The beach at Case Noyale is not a public beach and as such does not fall under the responsibility of the Ministry. However, in view of the popular nature of the beach, the Ministry is providing day to day cleaning services thereat.
          The uplifting of the beach may be considered by the Beach Authority which is in the process of being set up to operate under the aegis of the Ministry.