NEWS

Indian High Commission Will Be Built On Idle Piece Of Land, Not On Thurston Gardens

Land records show that Thurston Gardens is not part of the deal and the rezoning will not destroy the gardens to build the high commission. Instead, the piece of land earmarked for this is situated where a car park sits. There is an idle piece of land adjacent to the car park.
07 Feb 2019 10:16
Indian High Commission Will Be Built On Idle Piece Of Land, Not On Thurston Gardens
Part of the area which is earmarked for the construction of the Indian High Comission. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Emotions are running high because of misinformation regarding a portion of land to be leased to India for its High Commission offices in Suva.

A petition is also making the rounds calling for this rezoning to be stopped, based on the belief that the Thurston Gardens (formerly Suva Botanical Gardens) are part of the rezoning plans.

However, land records show that Thurston Gardens is not part of the deal and the rezoning will not destroy the gardens to build the high commission.

Instead, the piece of land earmarked for this is situated where a car park sits. There is an idle piece of land adjacent to the car park.

It is at the far end, to the left hand side of the main entrance to the Fiji Museum.

This was initially determined under the guidance of former Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Google Earth image of the area earmarked for the  the Indian High Comission.

Google Earth image of the area earmarked for the the Indian High Commission.

What is Fiji getting in return?

Fiji has been given prime land in Chanakyapuri in New Delhi worth USD$50 Million (FJD$105.5 million).

There had been much debate about this piece of land, which was given to Fiji, in India with many questioning why Fiji was given the privilege of having a high commission on prime real estate.

This was decided by the Indian Government back in 2014, before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Fiji.

Last year, the Indian Cabinet approved the exemption of commercial rates for the plot of land allotted to the Fijian High Commission in the diplomatic area of Chanakyapuri.

The proposal was approved at a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Mr Modi.

Land that Fiji is allotting to India is valued less than $1m, according to valuation done in 2014.

The Indian High Commission offices are currently in a commercial building in Butt Street.

Edited by Percy Kean

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