Open letter: struggling for survival with the Metro Express

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Dear Mr Prime Minister;

Once again it is with much despair that I am writing to you for the second time and expecting the concerned authorities to help me out of my current situation related to my two outlets situated at Rose-Hill which were sealed off for construction of the Metro Express by Larsen and Toubro. My situation is becoming extremely difficult and things are going from bad to really worse in regards to my health, lifestyle and financial situation.

My life and peace of mind are in turmoil as all my savings have been depleted and I have no control over my present situation. My son and I used to gain our day-to-day living from these outlets and now, we cannot even feed ourselves on a regular basis – hence relying on kind family members to cater for us. Our relatives have been very helpful and understanding regarding our financial predicaments but I cannot impose further on them.

My car stays in the garage due to lack of money to replenish petrol. My son has now decided to take a gap of one-year from university due to a lack of money to pay and continue his course. My basic utility bills for both my residence and commercial spaces are piling up due to no business caused by the ongoing construction of the metro in front of my premises.

I have cried out for help to the necessary institutions or bodies to explain my worries and to help find a solution. I have sent letters to the Ministries concern, Local Council and companies involved in the construction of the Metro Express but nothing has been done. The only response that I have received until now is an acknowledgement letter from the PMO confirming that the matter has been referred to the Ministry of Infrastructure.

You need to understand than my day-to-day life has become a nightmare as we are really struggling to survive with no food on the table. We also have loans to pay back and other financial commitments and repaying the Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd and The Swan Group are also of our most priorities as these two institutions have been very understanding to our worrying situation.

Larsen & Toubro through her Head of communication phoned me and assured that a solution would be found and two of her assistants came at my place and promised me that my case will be taken to a higher level but until now nothing has been done and my situation is worse. The Head of communication at Larsen and Toubro further told me, personally, that I would be relocated into other premises, that they are were consulting the Local Council for that issue but here again nothing was done to remedy my situation. 

The non-responsiveness of the authorities and each authority shifting blame on other departments is not only UNPLEASANT and STRESSFUL but worsening my financial predicament and really affecting my ability to survive on a daily basis. It’s extremely difficult to see that people at the higher level of Government or in charge of the Metro Express are lending a deaf ear to my situation which is becoming unbearable as days go by! Nothing concrete is being done with regards to my situation and only promises are being made without action!

Rats in the kitchen

My premises are still barricaded and blocked and no parking space available with dust coming, leaving no opportunity to do any business. Since the digging work has started, rats from the sewage in the vicinity of the construction of metro project have started entering the kitchen and the dining premises and in front of the rare customers. The rats have also damaged my raw food stuffs several times even though the place was being regularly pest controlled. The customers need to make a huge detour to be able to come over as the entrance has been hinged. Irregular supply of water, non-removal of waste on a regular basis by the Municipality and inaccessibility to the premises by the suppliers contributed to our closure. Hence, how can I be in a position to operate under such predicament and provide service to customers?

Since, food stuffs have a shelf life and there were was no more demand as no customers are coming, I made huge losses and the food needed to be thrown away. Customers even told me that it’s unhygienic to work when just in front me, there is ongoing pollution. Anyone would understand that in such an environment, I am no more in a position to sell food items. I even started to sell clothing stuffs in one of the outlets, however incurred loss again from it due to heavy dust, no visibility and accessibility. Moreover, due to the blockades, the place has become insecure to work. On several occasions, I have lost several personal belongings and documents and this case has been reported to Rose Hill Police station in July 2018. Considering the situation, we were forced to close the outlet as we reached a point where we could no more endure all the losses incurred by remaining open.

However, as we were barely surviving, I tried to open the outlet once more. I recently re-opened my business which is run by someone as I have no courage left in me to carry on currently as I am stressed. This person tells me that practically no customers are coming as they find it unhygienic to consume food where pollution is ongoing in front of my business. Furthermore, as I said in my previous letter with regard to insecurity prevailing, this time, people came in our shop with ‘sabre’ and threatened the people working there. Two mobile phones, a sum of Rs 8000, credit cards and a panini maker were stolen by those 3 goons and those criminals are known by the police who have identified them and are yet to be apprehended.

The police came into by premises to carry out their investigations on 9th November 2018 and the Rose Hill police station recorded the statement of Mr Hansveer Khanhye who was an employee victim of the robbery. This particular part of the building due to it being barricaded is a breeding ground for people to engage in illicit activities, there! The people working in my outlet are terrified to work there and I cannot blame them.

Recently there has been two robberies in Korrimboccus building ever since the start of the Metro Express. This is due to the fact that this particular part of the building where my outlets are found, is totally sealed off and encourages thieves or drug addicts to do illicit things. So, how am I expected to work under those conditions without making matters worse!

Another matter of concern is referred to in a video entitled «Des tuyaux de la WWMA endommagés à Rose-Hill – Habitants et usagers incommodés par les eaux usées» online where you can see our premises opened and had to shut down due to waste being dumped in front of them thus creating a nauseous smell in the vicinity. Even though, I tried to re-open and give it another try, now we are being plagued by waste dumping in front of our own premises. This is clearly unacceptable as we are dealing with food production and this makes it even more highly unhygienic to operate. This foul smell has persisted for days and I could not open the premises until the smell was gone. How again can I operate under such conditions ?

The situation is really traumatic and unbearable for me and this whole polluting, life threatening environment was unexpected to me. If, I knew about the upcoming works by Larsen & Toubro, I would have not renovated my premises very recently. I tried seeking help from other authorities but nothing has been resolved up to now. I was only promised by Larsen & Toubro to be relocated to another place so that I can at least earn my bread and butter again, but up to now I am still waiting and nothing has been done as was promised. I am now in an agonising situation where my loans are piling up and my house is at stake. As opposed to the other neighbours in the same building, I am much more affected by the ongoing work being carried out.

I understand that the Metro Express will be a tremendous advancement to our country and as a Patriot, I am keen for the development and boosting of our economy. However, it should not be at the cost of totally depleting my existence. If this situation persists, I will be left with no more options than to seek legal help as my requests have been completely ignored.

Relying on your consideration on this most urgent matter.

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