Thursday, July 7

Gerita Ayom’s family may finally get to walk on dry land soon

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KUCHING: The wooden walkway that Tellian Ulu resident Gerita Ayom and her family so craved for years is expected to be built soon as an alternative route has been found.

Responding to an article in yesterday’s The Borneo Post entitled ‘Villager appeals for help to build wooden walkway’, Tellian assemblyman Yussibnosh Balo explained that all

promises made to Gerita, 46, came to naught because an affected land owner refused to give `right of way’.

He said there was an allocation to build the walkway in 2014, but work could not start until now because the project had to past through a private land, and the land owner would not budge.

“This year we managed to get an allocation and an alternative ‘right of way’, but it is quite a distance away.  We will construct the walkway once we completed a project not far from Gerita’s house,” Yussibnosh assured The Borneo Post yesterday.

Meanwhile, Mukah District officer Shafrie Saili, when contacted, said a meeting would be held tomorrow to discuss Gerita’s problem.

Expected to be at the gathering are Shafrie himself, Gerita’s family, the village security and development committee (JKKK) members, and penghulu of the area.

“We want to meet all relevant parties and settle this issue once and for all. We hope that after the meeting, we will able to build a walkway for Gerita’s family,” said Shafrie.

Gerita had appealed to the government to help resolve the plight of her family for a

long time. She said every time it rained or when there was a high tide, her family had to brave flood waters.

“There have been times where my children had to walk in the flood waters from the village to Mukah, where they work,” said Gerita.

She added that she had lived in that house for about 20 years and always wondered why other houses in the village had walkways, but not hers.

Her family, she claimed, had sent many requests to the village chief and district office for a solution and each time the reply was the same: the walkway would be built—soon.

During election time, said Gerita’s brother Ben, the campaigners would also make similar promises.

He said his mother, Retani Sebal, had also appealed to the government, but all her appeals fell on deaf ears. If the walkway is built soon, she would not be there to rejoice, because she passed away two years ago.

With the landas season just around the corner, Ben is keeping his fingers crossed that Gerita and her family would not have to wade through flood waters all over again.