Residents Anticipate Joy Of New Bridge

Mr Kumar, who relocated to the settlement in 1987, said it was always difficult to cross the river.
21 Feb 2021 09:23
Residents Anticipate Joy Of New Bridge
Back row, from left: Qaliwalu Settlement residents, Vinod Kumar, Dharna Wati, Premila Wati and Reena Devi with (front row) Anjali Kumar and Aryan Kumar on the newly-constructed Bridge at Kalacraft, Lautoka on February 20, 2021. Photos: Nicolette Chambers

Jumping on large rocks to cross the river in order to get to school and the city will now be a worry of the past.

The new Qaliwalu Bridge at Kalacraft, Lautoka, will open in a few weeks but it has already brought smiles to more than 14 families in the settlement.

The project is coordinated by the Ministry of Rural, Maritime and Disaster Management in conjunction with Department of Works Fiji under the Ministry of Infrastructure.

For Qaliwalu Settlement resident, Vinod Kumar, it has been a dream come true for him. He has lived in the area for more than 30 years.

Mr Kumar, who relocated to the settlement in 1987, said it was always difficult to cross the river.

“This is the only way out from here, so whenever there is a flood, we can’t cross over to the other side,” Mr Kumar said.

“Before we had to jump on the stones to cross the river.We always asked for a bridge and now it is here and almost complete, we are more than happy.”

His granddaughter, Anjali Kumar, a former student of Lautoka Andhra Sangam College, said she would sometimes miss school whenever there was heavy downpour.

“It would flood and I would stay home, if I went to school and came back to flooding, I had to stay at someone else’s home until the waters receded,” she said.

“Now with the new bridge, I don’t have to worry about jumping on rocks.”

Commissioner Western Mesake Ledua said the project focused on raising the living standards of the residents and improving the livelihood of rural communities.

“The bridge is still under construction. 75 per cent of the work has been completed. One of the challenges was the wet weather, especially with flooding we experienced a few weeks back,” he said.

Mr Ledua said the Qaliwalu Bridge would ease transportation challenges for the residents.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro


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