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Acting PM: Wider Search For New Airport Site In North

Acting PM: Wider Search For New Airport Site In North
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (left) during a budget consultation at Labasa College on May 18, 2017. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU
May 19
10:21 2017

Seaqaqa may not necessarily be a possible site for an international airport in Vanua Levu.

The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said this last night during the Budget consultations in Labasa.

He said they were now looking at alternative sites.

They are also exploring various options for a bypass road in Labasa, he also confirmed.

He was responding to a request by Labasa Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Satish Kumar.

Mr Kumar asked for a bypass road in Labasa and extension and upgrade of Labasa Airport.

On the airport, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “We are looking at alternative sites and it may not be Seaqaqa.

“We are going to look at areas where there is a wider, bigger piece of land because we have to think 50 years down the track.

“The fact of the matter is that we need to choose a site where we can have the ability to expand the runway when the need arises.”

Mr Kumar said: “While you are looking at building an international airport, if it is possible to have lights installed along the Labasa (Airport) runway for night landing and this would be useful during bad weather conditions also.

“The other request is for the last 50 years we have been requesting all the previous governments for a bypass road in Labasa and none has done it and I believe the Bainimarama Government can do this,” Mr Kumar said.

“We also request if nearby roads around Labasa can be tarsealed and if the duty on ready-made garments be reduced.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum responded: “We are looking at various options of bypass road.

“I am aware that currently there are some works going on at the Labasa Bridge and I would like to tell you that you are actually going to get a new bridge.

“The new bridge will actually start in the second half of the next financial year 2017/2018. We need a new bridge.

“There is a design and plan to ensure that it lasts longer.”

Other issues brought to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum included:

The Pontoon Nite Club manager Ravin Kumar suggested if the business opening hours of the night clubs in Labasa could be extended from 1am to 3am because there was a demand from people.

Poor road conditions. Ajesh Nair, a Labasa businessman, complained about the poor road conditions and the poor maintenance work done by some sub-contractors of Fiji Roads Authority. While, Sohan Singh, a Labasa businessman highlighted some land related issues.

Today, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum will be having Budget consultation with students at Monfort Technical Institute in Savusavu at 9am and then at Labasa College at 1:30pm.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa



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