FIJI NEWS

Water sold to needy families

Written By : KAILASH RAO. People have been selling water to residents of a farming community for the last two years. Resident of the settlement in Wailevu outside Labasa said
02 Jan 2009 12:00

image Written By : KAILASH RAO. People have been selling water to residents of a farming community for the last two years.
Resident of the settlement in Wailevu outside Labasa said they had been without water supply for the last two years.
Khatun Nisha, 60, said she had to buy water every day for the last two years.
“The cost of water is $1 per drum and 50c for a bucket,” she said.
Deo Bharat, 39, said it has been a struggle for him as he had to buy water apart from food and other expenses. Sushil Chand, who lives near the settlement said he had to fix a water tank in his compound to accommodate the 30 families.
“I’ve got to charge them $1 per drum and 50c per bucket because I’ve got to pay for the water bills,” he said.
“I’ve been asking government for the last two years to look into the matter but it was completely ignored.
“I have personally lodged 50 complaints with the water supply in Labasa and there has been no response from them.”
Mr Chand said the families were struggling for water every day and it would soon get worse since school was about to start.
“I’m helping these residents,” he said.
“When we raise our complaints the department do not consider them and it has been two years.
“I’ve built a tank so people can use water and assist me in paying the bills by paying for it. It’s been two years and how long can we go on like this?”
Another water supplier, Mukesh Chand, said he did not charge people for water but only accepted whatever money was given to him.
“I give water but accept whatever they give me because I’ve got to pay my bills also,” he said.
Acting Water Engineer Northern Division Sekonaia Ratu said such incidents were news to him.
“I will attend to the matter tomorrow and see how many water meters are fixed to cater for water for the residences,” he said.
“Every house should have water meters and should be provided with water daily if there is no water burst.”
Mr Ratu said there was no problem to supply water to people and for them to give something in return to assist in the payment of bills.
“Our concern is that the bills are to be paid on time,” he said.
Ministry of Works’ public relations officer Sainiana Waqainabete confirmed that it is illegal to sell water.
“If they want to help by giving water they can go ahead with it but individuals are not allowed to sell water,” she said.



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