NATION

Qelewaqa farmers praise waterways minister for keeping his promise to help

Farmers at Qele­waqa in Labasa are thankful to Minister for Waterways Mahendra Reddy for keeping his promise to improve their livelihood. Bal Raj, 62, is among seven farmers who have
08 Feb 2018 11:00
Qelewaqa farmers praise waterways minister for keeping his promise to help
Ministry of Waterways senior agriculture officer Northern Gyan Chandra (right) showing the drainage work that begun in Qelawaqa, Labasa as he stands with Bal Raj (left) and Ritesh Raj who are rice farmers on February 6. Photo:Shratika Naidu

Farmers at Qele­waqa in Labasa are thankful to Minister for Waterways Mahendra Reddy for keeping his promise to improve their livelihood.

Bal Raj, 62, is among seven farmers who have been suffering for the past decade because of the poor drainage system in their area.

He said for more than 10 years his farms had been flooded with water flowing from the moun­tain because there was no proper drainage system.

“During these years I had written so many letters requesting assis­tance at various govern­ment departments to help build a proper drainage system,” Mr Raj said.

“It was not until two weeks ago that Mr Reddy had a meeting with us, inspected our farms and the poor drainage sys­tem.

“He promised to send a contractor to do the work and we are thankful he kept his words.

Mr Raj’s son, Ritesh, said through the min­ister’s assistance they would be able to harvest rice and plant vegetables without any worries.

“Not only will our situa­tion change, but the lives of six other families will improve because they will be able to enjoy a good harvest,” Ritesh said.

Mr Reddy said: “I want to assure farmers and families that such issues they faced will be a worry of the past.

“We just need some time to asses and do a proper survey on the gravity of the matter, find solutions to it and then follow the government process to fix the issue,” he said.

Many places in the Macuata and Bua prov­inces will benefit from our drainage scheme this year.

“Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, this drainage scheme has not been maintained and up­graded for many years,” Mr Reddy said.

“We have been picking up existing complaints and dealing with them.

“Once we finish this round then we will go for the nationwide consulta­tion.

“We want to quickly complete the existing problems. Because there are some people who are still suffering and cannot come forward to lodge their issues and com­plaints.”

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: shratika.naidu@fijisun.com.fj

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