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Villagers ‘Forced To Carry Body Along River’

Villagers ‘Forced To Carry Body Along River’
December 30
12:47 2015

Villagers of Naimasimasi were forced to carry a body alongside the Navua River, as the company extracting gravels there had blocked the boat passage to Navua Town.

Naimasimasi villager Valerio Nawatu said they carried the body to Nakavu Village and waited for the transport there to get to the Navua mortuary.

He said the two companies – Namosi Development and Chinese All Earthworks Limited – had continued to extract gravels and had blocked the boat passage.

He also claimed many outboard engine propellers were damaged as boat operators tried to force their way through.

Mr Nawatu said they had signed a petition in protest of the extraction of the gravel, but the work has continued.

The manager for Discover Fiji Tours, William Rock Danford, said Mr Nawatu was telling the truth and that there were other villagers who had their own stories.

Fiji Sun called Chinese All Earthworks Limited office in Navua yesterday for comments but no one answered. For the Namosi Development it had no contact.

 

Effects on Tourist Attractions and the Environment

Gravel extraction at the Navua River has had an impact on its tourist attraction and environment.

This was stated in a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2014 by Discover Fiji Tours managing director, Lionel Danford.

He said his company at times catered for approximately 200 people from Cruise Liners in a day.

“We have spent thousands and thousands of dollars every year in promoting our tours that travel up the Navua Gorge,” he said.

Over the years he said they had won a number of International Awards and the 2014’s Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Government had spent millions of dollars in promoting Fiji Tourism and together with the local operators had done their best to making the Navua River Gorge by far the best or second best attraction in Fiji today.

“Now the Chinese and a few money hungry locals will destroy the many years of effort and sacrifice we have done for a few dollars more in a short period of time.”

He said in the letter that they had an alternative to discuss with the Chinese Investors if they agreed to set up their quarry in the Namosi Highland area, but extraction would be from the blasting of rocks using explosives.

This area was secluded and posed no threat to any business or livelihood.  He said in the letter that they had identified a Native Land Owning Unit who had agreed to negotiate with any investors who wished to engage in the above.

 

Road maintenance

Over recent years Mr Danford said heavy traffic had increased substantially carting gravel from quarries located on the Navua – Nakavu Village road.

Most of these big trucks he said carried excessive loads extensively damaging roads which constantly requires maintenance.

“This hazard and consequent danger due to the size of the vehicles and increased traffic along this stretch of road will surely deteriorate current conditions and create access problems.”

He said these had made life difficult for communities living on this corridor as road conditions were so horrible at times making it impossible for motorists  PSVs and tours.

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