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Sunday October 27, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday October 27, 2013 MYT 8:58:26 AM
Pile-up: Palanivel (centre) inspecting some of the damaged computers at the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Bertam Valley. With him is school principal Tee Lian Yew (right). — Bernama
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Residents and businesses occupying the Sungai Bertam river reserve land need to be relocated before the river could be deepened and widened.
According to Natural Resources and Environmental Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, safety needs to be considered before embarking on the river engineering project.
“We will need to find a suitable area to relocate them within the shortest time possible. There are lots of houses along the river which is a problem,” said Palanivel, who is also the Cameron Highlands MP.
“There are also houses and warehouses that were built without permit,” he said, adding that discussions with the state government need to be held about the matter.
He was commenting on the RM40mil allocation approved by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to widen and deepen the river following a flash flood there on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, a torrent of mud-laden water released from the TNB’s Sultan Abu Bakar dam caused the tiny river to overflow, causing severe damage to farms, housing and other infrastructure built very close to it, and 10 workers’ quarters were totally destroyed.
Three people were killed during the incident and a foreign worker is still missing.
Palanivel also said the state Drainage and Irrigation Department had allocated RM100mil to clean up and widen a small portion of the river near the affected site.
“There is a lot of rubbish in the river that needs to be cleared, and it will take about a month to do so,” said Palanivel, who also urged TNB to alert his ministry as well as the Communications and Multimedia Ministry on future water releases from the dam as part of its SOP.
“The Communications and Multimedia Ministry should be informed first so that it can alert people about the impending release of water,” he said.
Bertam River embankment to be fortified with concrete walls
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