NEWS

$12 Million Move: 300 Families Of Nanuku And Veidogo Settlement To Be Relocated To Makoi

Minister for Housing Premila Kumar said the move by K Bhindi Brothers Limited to use their own money to develop the land in Makoi and for the families to relocate should be applauded.
01 Jun 2020 12:09
$12 Million Move: 300 Families Of Nanuku And Veidogo Settlement To Be Relocated To Makoi
Temalesi Radinikaba with her grandchildren Jone Yacarogovinaka, Mosese Radrodro and Samuela Radrodro at Veidogo informal settlement in Vatuwaqa, Suva, on May 31, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

About $60 million is spent by landowners in Vatuwaqa for commercial development. And $12 million of that will be used to relocate squatters, who over the years, have illegally made homes on the land.

Specifically, 300 families residing in the Nanuku and Veidogo Settlements will be relocated to Makoi. This exercise is funded by the landowners, K Bhindi Brothers Limited.

Minister for Housing Premila Kumar said the move by K Bhindi Brothers Limited to use their own money to develop the land in Makoi and for the families to relocate should be applauded.

“The company and the ministry have been in talks. They are financing everything. We are helping them by working together on getting approvals for the development,” she said.

“The ministry will also be undertaking a new socio-economic survey as the last one was done in 2013 and since then things have changed for many residents.

“There are some who have been impacted by COVID-19 as well.”

K Bhindi Brothers Limited general manager Dr Sagar Dhanji said there had been several attempts to remove the squatters, but each time there had been defiance.

He said they had no other option, but to resettle them elsewhere.

He said the development lease for the land in Makoi was given to the company and they would be moving genuine and deserved people there.

He highlighted that development included roads, waterways, electricity and lots, which were properly divided unlike the conditions in Vatuwaqa.

Dr Dhanji said to decide who gets the lot, they would rely on the socio-economic survey that would be undertaken by the ministry.

The 2013 survey showed that 75 per cent of the population in the area lived below the poverty line.

Residents reaction

Veidogo Community president Temalesi Radinikaba said there was an overwhelming response by residents in the informal settlement to move.

She said the lots in Makoi would be properly divided with water and electricity, something which most houses were still without or sharing.

“It is better for people to move. But we also have some people who do not want to move because this is closer to the city,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, I hope people realise that we are living illegally on someone else’s land.”

Ms Radinikaba said there were also concerns about criminal activity, which was happening within the community.

Nanuku Community president Rajendra Udit said many residents within the area did not qualify for the lots in Makoi.

He said some people had land in Savusavu and other areas while some had houses which were on rent, but preferred to stay in Vatuwaqa.

He said he hoped that people who only deserve to get the lots in Makoi were relocated.

Relocation could happen this year and for many, they hope that after years of talks it eventuates.

Dr Dhanji said after the relocation, the Vatuwaqa development would be an industrial subdivision to cater for the high demand in industrial lots in the Suva vicinity.

This development is valued at $45 million.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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