KUCHING, Jan 20: The Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) and the relevant agencies will clear the logjam upstream of Bakun HEP Dam as an immediate solution so that it will clear the passageway for boats from five villages who have been affected by the logjam, said Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin.
However, he said, the proposed river clearing activity has to be postponed in compliance with State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)’s directives on Covid-19 after the declaration of Movement Control Order (MCO) for Sibu Division from January 16 – 29, 2021 and Conditional MCO from January 18-31, 2021 for the rest of the State.
The five villages affected by the logjam are Long Keboho, Naha Jalei, Naha Nyalong, Long Bulan and Long Jawe involving 220 doors.
“For this purpose, SRB and the relevant agencies will work with the communities in the affected areas by tagging the logs which will be spiked with iron nails and to be secured onto the riverbank with rope to create safe passage for the movement of boats in the area,” Lee said in a statement issued here today.
He said the decision was made following a meeting called by his ministry on Dec 18, 2020, which include all stakeholders such the Forest Department, SRB, Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFS), Land and Survey Department and Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).
Lee said SRB is currently making the necessary preparation so that the activity can be carried out as soon as possible once the CMCO/MCO is lifted.
“It is important to understand that the proposed river clearing activity will involve close interaction and contact between people and this is not allowed in our effort to contain the spread of covid-19 in the State,” said Lee.
The logjam issue in upper Bakun HEP Dam was first brought up by Belaga Assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang on Nov 16, 2020, and subsequently, he made a further appeal on Jan 18, 2021, as he claimed his complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
Lee reiterated that the logjam issue at the upper Bakun HEP Dam has been there since the impounding of the Bakun HEP Dam way back in 2010.
“After the impoundment (of the dam), SEB through NREB had appointed a local contractor to remove the debris in order to provide safe passage for navigation for the people in the area,” said Lee.
He also disclosed that in order to better understand the issue, a team led by SRB with representatives from the Forest Department, Land and Survey Department, NREB, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFS), and Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) has made a site visit to the area on 21st December 21, 2020.
“The findings of the visit are; there is no permanent settlement above the affected area of Linau River except for a number of Jelatong operating in the area and there are five villages along the Balui River whereby their river transportation is affected by the debris,” he said. -DayakDaily