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Residents Rejoice as PM Officiates at Event

  Decades of hardships for residents of Vakabuli/Paipai in Lautoka have now come to an end, they say. One resident Sharita Singh made the comment after Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama
29 Jan 2019 09:43
Residents Rejoice as  PM Officiates at Event
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with students of Vakabuli Primary School, teachers, parents and stakeholders on January 28, 2019, during the opening of the crossing in Vakabuli/Paipai in Lautoka. Photo: DEPTFO News

 

Decades of hardships for residents of Vakabuli/Paipai in Lautoka have now come to an end, they say.

One resident Sharita Singh made the comment after Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama opened the Vakabuli/Paipai Crossing –– a development that will vastly improve the quality of life for 200 households that will use it every day.

Ms Singh, who grew up in the area, said residents were overjoyed with the project.

“We are so relieved and so grateful and happy. You have to be a resident of Vakabuli Paipai to realise the hardship, the difficulty this community has been facing for decades now,” she said.

“This bridge means an end to that suffering. A little bit of rain could result in people being stranded, not going to school, even university and work. People who do get sick cannot be evacuated. Even when someone dies the funeral had to be postponed.”

Naviyago Village headman Rusiate Deitu said: “It is among the great things the Government continues to do. It has not forgotten those who live in the area.”

Rural Advisory councillor Shamshad Ali said, “People living in this area have long lived in fear every time storm clouds gathered; for them, heavy rain too often meant more than just flooding, it meant being cut off from the rest of Lautoka until waters subsided.”

Standing more than 1.5 metres higher than the previous structure, the new crossing is fortified by concrete and designed to withstand the elements.

At 32 metres in length, this crossing took eight months of hard work, and a government investment of $1.6 million to complete.

“Vakabuli is safer, it is stronger, and it is better-connected than ever before,” Mr Bainimarama said while officiating at the event.

“Schoolchildren will no longer have to risk their safety by walking over the rushing waters of a flooded crossing. Mothers and fathers will now be easily connected to public transport, allowing for quicker travel to markets, health centres, and government offices, all of which are also being expanded across our country. And your sugarcane farmers will now be free to transport their harvest with less effort than ever before.

“Big news is on the horizon; FRA is in the process of awarding contracts for bridges 17 critical in Fiji, so there are exciting days ahead for Fijians everywhere.”

“Together, we are creating a Fijian future that is able to weather the storm; a Fiji for our children and grandchildren.

“Not only your Prime Minister, but as the Minister for Sugar Industry, I take very seriously as we look to transform the way we grow, transport, harvest, process, and market Fijian sugarcane.

“While to some, a single crossing may seem like a drop in the bucket when it comes to such a large industry –– one on which over 200,000 Fijians depend –– it can be a life-changing moment to the farmer who uses it. And when this step is replicated all over Fiji, the combined efficiency will move the needle further for not just the farmer, but for the industry as a whole.

Meanwhile, in the past five years, the Government invested over $750 million into infrastructural improvements.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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