Bani Bypass without an outline 10 months from start
SANTO DOMINGO. It has been 10 months since the Minister of Public Works and Communications, Gonzalo Castillo, announced last September that they would begin the construction of the Bani Bypass to the south side of the city, and there has still been no groundbreaking and the definitive outline of where it will go has not been defined.
The sudden change of the construction through the South and not through the North, as had been promised, has made the Bani civic organizations very annoyed, because for decades they have been asking the authorities that the project go through the North, in order to remove the heavy traffic from the urban center and promote the development of this sector, which in comparison to the South part of the jurisdiction is the poorest.
“The minister disrespected us with this change, because he did not consult anyone in order to announce it and he has to know that this has nothing to do with authority, but rather of seeing what the people need,” said Manolo Carmona, the organizational Secretary for the Federation of Community Organizations of the province of Peravia (FEDOCOP) and he is part of the Pro – North Bypass for Bani Committee.
According to the statements by the Minister of Public Works, registered in the press archives, the change of direction was done in order to favor tourism, a motive which is questioned by the community leaders, who feel that if it was so, along the North they could also assist the tourist zones.
In the Department of Public Relations of the Ministry of Public Works it was reported that the contract, budget and infrastructure design was set aside in order to determine if it has to be updated.
“It is that there is not just beach tourism, there is also eco- tourism, and in the North area of Bani we have these mountains for the tourist who want to go there and so this part of Bani, which is the most depressed, would begin to awaken economically,” Carmona stressed.
Beyond benefiting tourism, the community leaders feel that the change of the course of the bypass through the southern part was done in order to favor the president of the Punta Cana Group, Frank Rainieri, and his project Los Corbanitos, which he plans to build in the municipal district of Sabana Buey, Bani.
Last November, tourism magnate Rainieri offered a conference at the Perello Cultural Center, located in the province, in which he presented the tourist project and explained the reasons for his suggesting that the Bypass be done in the southern area.
“You can imagine a tourist who comes from Berlin, nine hours of flight, an hour going through Immigration and Customs and two hours on the highway; he comes for one day and never returns. It is because of this that I allow myself to explain and repeat today, my suggestion that the Bani Bypass be constructed on the south side, in order to reduce the time between the airports of Las Americas or Maria Montez (in Barahona), to the tourist area of Bani, composed of Palmar de Ocoa, Salinas, Ocoa Bay, and Los Corbanitos,” Rainieri explained to the public that was present.
“This is the principle reason, to try and reduce the time by half an hour or an hour and a half, to see if with this we can be competitive, because regarding tourism anything more than an hour’s distance is complicated to sell; the maximum accepted time is an hour and a half from an airport to wherever you’re going,” he added on a tape of the talk to which Diario libre obtained a copy.
Consequences for the South
The community leaders warned that building the Bypass on the south side will be more expensive for the state, because the route for the project will be longer and they will have to buy “onerous” lands where the new highway will go.
Diario Libre tried, through Public Works and the Modesto Group to get the plans of the Bypass, both for the northern part as well is for the southern part, in order to establish differences, but it was not possible.
“90% of the barrios of Bani are located on the north side and there lives 70% of the poor population of Bani, which is to say that it is the area which most deserves this bypass; besides the the lands are less productive and are rocky which would be a good support for this Avenue,” noted Tomas Arias, the president of the Federation of Community Organizations of the Province of Peravia (FEDOCOP).
Likewise, Hector Turbi, of the Committee for the Defense of the Health, Environment and Farming of the province of Peravia and of the Coordinator of the Popular Struggle, indicated that if they build the Bypass through the South, Bani will become a service economy.
“Here they won’t be able to produce anything because a good part of the land in the area to the south is used for farming, and they would lose this condition,” said Turbi.
In the opinion of the residents, the project for Los Corbanitos, will not fulfill the economic and job demands of the municipality. “The solution is that they open sources of work, that they look after the production of the countryside, which is been abandoned. The fact that they invest in Los Corbanitos is not going to solve the necessities of Bani,” commented Julio Cesar Bobadilla who is also a member of FEDOCOP.
Landowners would be affected
“The fact that the Bani Bypass would go through the South affects me directly, because it would impact part of the land that we farm and would reduce our production,” said a landowner who lives in the southern area to this newspaper and asked that his name not be used.
The producer and distributor of mangoes said that Public Works has not approached him to buy the lands, but he said also that he is not interested in selling.
“I am in agreement with the Bypass crossing through the North, since to the South it would significantly affect these fertile lands. In my case if I have to sell, I would do it under duress,” said the landowner.
A distortion of information
Ramon Pepin, the chief of the cabinet of the Ministry of Public Works, assured reporters that so far there does not exist a definitive layout for the project through the North or through the South.
“There is no decision yet, because as I told you, this is under study and design. There is a sector that wants it to go through the South, others that wanted to go through the North, but they are drawing up the designs,” noted the official, who also said that he did not know when they are planning to begin the construction of the work, whether it is in one direction or the other.
“We still do not have a date when the project is going to start, because until we complete this stage of studies and design, we can’t put up a startup date,” Pepin argued.
The statement by this official is contradictory with that of the Modesto Group, the company in charge of the project and according to what they say, they have plans to begin this month at the latest.
Roberto Modesto, the president of the group, reported that he met last month with the Minister of Public Works, who assured him that they are putting the final touches on the design.
“Remember that they had submitted a design through the North, but then the President and the Minister (Gonzalo Castillo), decided that it should go through the South. This change has caused this delay,” he noted.
The delivery of the Bani Bypass was thought to be before the end of President Danilo Medina’s administration. Nevertheless with the changes, it is not known if the projections will be fulfilled. He said that they work out a consortium to construct the project, which they expect to begin this month and still have not begun.
May 18, 2015
Category: DR News |