Monday, July 22, 2024

Farato: Business owners bemoan police demolition of illegal encroachments 

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By: Zackline Colley

Facing the harsh reality of illegal encroachment, business owners impacted by the authorized demolition of their premises in Farato, along the Brikama highway opened up about their struggles.

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From small enterprises to established shops, these victims shared poignant stories of financial loss, emotional strain, and the uncertainty that now loomed over their livelihoods.

Amadou Jallow, who operates a local “Tangana shop” tells The Fatu Network that the partially demolished part of his shop has impacted his business.

“I have lost most of my customers to the Tangana shop behind me. If customers come and it’s crowdy with nowhere to sit, they become impatient and move to the next shop which is not affected because he is not situated on the highway unlike me.

“I used to have a full house every morning before the demolition but now business is slow [and [I] am even having thoughts of moving out to a better environment cause [sic] the sun disturbs both me and my customers who complain of how uncomfortable it is to enjoy their meals in my shop,” Jallow told The Fatu Network.

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Unlike Amadou Jallow, a woman in her mid-thirties was left hopeless after her small canteen where she sells fast food was completely demolished during the illegal encroachment operation. Astou Faye told The Fatu Network how her canteen located at the Farato Bojang Kunda has been her only source of income.

“When I was told about the demolishment going on, I did not think I was going to be affected but my hopes shattered when I was home preparing the food to sell when one of my customers came to tell me the devastating news that my canteen was marked to be demolished.

“I am not worried because I have God. I am now looking for a suitable place to resume my business but, in the meantime, things are really hard on me. I am only dependent on my savings for now,” Faye said.

Aside from those affected, people like Moses Jarju believe the illegal encroachment operation was long overdue. Mr. Jarju pointed out that some illegal encroachment along the highway causes most of the traffic jams along the Brikama highway.

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He told The Fatu Network that some accidents have happened in the past involving vehicles hitting some of the shops situated just a few steps from the highway which he described as very dangerous.

“This operation is long overdue; people live where their land ends and come up to the highway to build their shops which could be very risky. Most of these establishments tend to increase the rate of traffic jams cause [sic] they create parking spaces where vehicles are meant to move.

I accept that it has caused a lot of havoc for the victims [but] it is for the well-being of them all. Last year, we had serval accidents involving some of these canteens situated right on the main road, so it is risky. I commend the national road authority and the police for a job well done,” Jarju said.

As the victims of the demolition narrated their challenges, a collective plea for justice emerged, emphasizing the need for authorities to address the profound impact of illegal encroachment on the local business community.

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