SUNBIZ

Mechanical Breakdown Is Cause Of Lautoka Mill Delay

Mechanical breakdown is the cause of the cane crushing delay at the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s Lautoka Mill. It is understood Lautoka Mill will recommence crushing today, once the mechanical fault
15 Jul 2021 13:42
Mechanical Breakdown Is Cause Of Lautoka Mill Delay
Cane waiting to be crushed at the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s Lautoka Mill on July 14, 2021 Photo: Shreya Kumar

Mechanical breakdown is the cause of the cane crushing delay at the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s Lautoka Mill.

It is understood Lautoka Mill will recommence crushing today, once the mechanical fault is fixed.

Lautoka Mill’s crushing season began on June 30.

Queries sent to FSC remained unanswered when this edition went to press yesterday.

The Lautoka mill mechanical breakdown has kept some cane growers and lorry drivers, like Virend Nath and Poniani Tabaka from returning home.

 

Lorry driver and cane grower Virend Nath waiting at the Lautoka mill on July 14, 2021. Photo: Shreya Kumar

Lorry driver and cane grower Virend Nath waiting at the Lautoka mill on July 14, 2021. Photo: Shreya Kumar

Message
It is understood that a text message was sent to cane gang leaders earlier yesterday, informing all Rarawai and Lautoka mill sectors that: “Lautoka mill is down and all lorries to remain in the sector until advised.”

This was confirmed by Ashweel Kumar, president of Lorry Association for Lautoka mill and Ravindra Sing, gang leader for Veisaru Central Cane Farmer Co-operative.

Mr Nath, 78, of Votualevu, Nadi said he arrived at the Lautoka Mill at 5am yesterday when he was notified of the breakdown by the authorities.

“We were notified that operations would resume tomorrow evening, July 15,” he said.

“I have chosen to spend the night in my lorry as I have brought my own cane, and so I can oversee the safety of my lorry. I cannot afford to travel back home and leave my loaded lorry here.

“Aside from the expenses, what if my lorry gets damaged, or parts get stolen in my absence?”

Mr Nath said he was expecting to harvest around 600 tonnes of cane this crushing season.

“If everything goes well with the mill operations, then I look forward to all my cane to be harvested in a timely manner,” Mr Nath said.

Mr Tabaka from Ellington, Rakiraki, has also joined Mr Nath in staying back.

Mr Tabaka has also been delivering cane from his farm in Rakiraki to the Lautoka Mill.

“Opening of Rarawai mill will ease things for us.

“Then deliveries of cane could be made to Rarawai mill which would ease the load here in the Lautoka mill,” Mr Tabaka said.

Both Mr Nath and Mr Tabaka agreed cane growers and lorry drivers convenience should be prioritised as they are the major stakeholders of the sugar industry.

Rarawai mill will open for its crushing season this Friday.

 

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj



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