Tuesday, September 27

Belaga-Nanga Merit road to ensure safer travel

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Belaga jetty used by most riverine dwellers to reach Belaga Town.

Belaga jetty used by most riverine dwellers to reach Belaga Town.

Belaga Town is in need of better basic amenities.

Belaga Town is in need of better basic amenities.

The Bukit Yong Bridge along the Kapit-Song-Kanowit-Sibu Road is a vital link which will connect the whole of Kapit to the rest of the state in the near future.

The Bukit Yong Bridge along the Kapit-Song-Kanowit-Sibu Road is a vital link which will connect the whole of Kapit to the rest of the state in the near future.

Councillor Bete Lahang (left) and Pemanca Ajang Sirek look at the signboard for the proposed Belaga-Nanga Merit Road, which will be implemented under the Jiwa Murni programme.

Councillor Bete Lahang (left) and Pemanca Ajang Sirek look at the signboard for the proposed Belaga-Nanga Merit Road, which will be implemented under the Jiwa Murni programme.

THE PELAGUS Rapids along the mighty Rajang River are known for dangerous jutting rocks, fast and furious currents, and whirlpools. When travelling from Kapit to Belaga, there is no alternative way to reach Belaga Town except by river. Incidents of capsized boats have claimed many lives, not only along the Pelagus Rapids but also upriver. The 155km journey by boat from Kapit to Belaga would normally take six hours, but during the dry spell this could be longer.

Belaga Town will soon be connected to Nanga Merit thanks to a Jiwa Murni road project and thereafter a road would also be constructed to Kapit.

Once completed, the road would connect all longhouses from Belaga to Nanga Merit with a total population of about 40,000 from mostly the Orang Ulu and Iban communities.

“We are confident the

completion of the Belaga-Nanga Merit Road in the next few years would ease the burden of my constituents who are mostly depending on river transport to travel,” said Barisan Nasional (BN) Belaga candidate Liwan Lagang who is the area’s incumbent.

“And of course when the road is completed, it would undeniably prevent the tragic loss of lives due mainly to tragedies involving longboats and express boats which we have experienced all this while.”

Besides better road connectivity, the area is also in need of better basic amenities.

“What we need besides roads are 24-hour electricity supply connected to the grid and treated water supply. We shouldn’t have any water supply problems as we have a huge lake in Bakun,” said Liwan, adding that RM37 million has been approved to implement electricity supply projects in Belaga.

Also on the wish list of locals are better education facilities, better local council services, more parking spaces for Belaga Town, village extension for Belaga villagers from Kampung Hilir and Kam Melayu Belaga, a new landfill and better clinics, especially at Long Busang, located some eight hours by boat from Bakun Lake jetty.