“The government is committed to giving concrete substance to the promises it has made to solve the socio-economic problems in Jerada province,” said El Khalfi.
Dialogue with representatives of the population, youth, local authorities, political parties, councils and trade unions has provided the government with “an understanding on the raised issues and demands in the mining town as well as commitments and measures to meet these demands and expectations.”
These measures are in a progressive evolution, he said, revealing that the Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, and a ministerial delegation will soon conduct a visit to the eastern region to inform the town’ residents of the government’s commitments to enhance the socio-economic conditions of their region.
With a budget of MAD 7 billion allocated to create a program to combat territorial disparities, “the government is driven by a strong will given the pressing need to fight territorial and social disparities,” the spokesman said.
Every year, several deaths are recorded in Jerada’s clandestine mines. On February 1, the town suffered another loss, as another person was killed while extracting coal from a clandestine mine when the walls of the mine collapsed on him. His death has led to a new wave of demonstrations.
The first series of protests began late December 2017, when two brothers were crushed while mining the underground tunnels of a disused coal mine in the eastern city.
The demonstrators protested against the injustices, the lack of infrastructure, the diligence of the authorities and the prospects of safe economic activity in the region.
Since then, the government has said that it elaborated an action program aimed at improving farmers’ incomes and the standard of living of the local population, as well as job creation.
The planned actions include irrigation, local products, range management, development of cattle breed, beekeeping, fruit tree planting and the creation of cooperatives.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Aziz Akhannouch recalled that during the 2010-2017 period, Jerada has benefited from many structuring projects which required an overall investment of over MAD 213 million, allocated for the development of rangelands, the conversion of cereals into fruit growing, the development of irrigation schemes and local products.