Middle East

Senegalese railway opened in the shadow of protest

After five years of work and over $ 1 billion, the Senegalese capital will finally have a new commuter train tomorrow.
Politicians are lined up to admire the benefits of reducing travel time and clearing Dakar’s congestion once the glittering TER Transport Express trains begin to run.
However, thousands of residents claim that they are not properly compensated for demolished homes and businesses to give way to the fuss.
“We will block the start of TER on the day of inauguration to demand satisfaction with our dissatisfaction,” said Ibrahima, who leads a group of about 16,000 people who say they are borrowing money. Sisse said.
Many are also furious that the promised home reconstruction has not yet been completed.
The government states that almost everyone who is obliged to pay compensation has received it, but admits that some resettlements have not yet taken place.
Trains traveling at 160 km / h (100 mph) will pass the 36 km (22 mph) route between Dakar and the new city of Diamniadio in about 20 minutes.
Proponents of the project say they can carry 115,000 people a day and save time in the huge traffic jams in the capital.
The time it took to build “may seem like a long time, but it broke the record for the speed of construction, despite Covid,” Setter’s Stephane Volant, a railroad operator, told AFP. rice field.
Critics say the true cost of the project is more than CHF 1000 trillion ($ 1.7 billion) compared to a budget of CHF 780 billion.
Seter uses a 15-car 4-car dual-mode train with diesel and power, built by Alstom, one of several French companies, including Seter, which has played a leading role in the project.
Tickets for the Dakar-Diamniadio Stretch cost CHF 1,500 CFA ($ 2.5) for Second Class and CHF 2,500 ($ 4.3) for First Class.
Railway lines owned by Senegal are central to President Macky Sall’s plans to overhaul the country’s infrastructure by 2035.
Improving the Dakar situation is one of the sole pet themes.
The city’s 5 million inhabitants make up almost one-third of Senegal’s population and make up almost all of the country’s economic activity.
According to official figures, traffic jams cost the city $ 172 million a year.
The TER station connects to a highway bus that operates in reserved lanes on toll roads that have been in operation for the past 10 years.
In the second phase of the project, it will be extended another 19km to Blaise Diagne International Airport, which opened in 2017.
It takes less than 50 minutes from the airport to downtown Dakar.
Behind these impressive figures, those fighting for compensation say their lives were destroyed by train lines.
“TER made us poor. This is a project that created living dead,” said Amina Bayo, a member of Cisse’s campaign group, a group of people affected by TER. ..
Approximately 2,000 individuals and businesses have filed complaints with Apix, the state-owned agency that oversees the project, for CHF 50 billion ($ 86 million). They say that assessors often underestimate their property badly.
However, Apix’s Yama Dieye told AFP that “98.8% of the people affected by the project were compensated.”
“Payments began in February 2017. Everything was transparent and made according to international standards,” he said.
But he admitted that the state was “still working” on resettlement. This is clearly seen in one of the suburbs of Dakar, which was intended to house exiled people.
Among the weeds near the obsolete plot near the highway, there is an unfinished stall with wires hanging on the ground.
“The construction site was to be completed in April 2018 for more than 2,000 expelled traders,” said one of them, Ngagne Amar.
Many claimants, especially those with a lack of documentation, are facing a difficult battle.
Dieye said much of the evidence Apix received was “generally weak.”

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/706887/Senegal-rail-opening-overshadowed-by-protest Senegalese railway opened in the shadow of protest

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