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Illegal operators affect business

Litia Vulaidausiga
Wednesday, July 09, 2014

SANJAY Kumar's Hakuna Matata restaurant in downtown Nadi translates to

"no worries" in Swahili, but despite the carefree sign, he fights a losing battle daily against illegal operators.

The restaurateur said private cars operating as public service vehicles continually took up parking space meant for customers and general consumers along his store front, located towards Nadi Town's temple-end, diverting shoppers elsewhere.

"I invested $30,000 into my restaurant but I am only making about $200 daily," Mr Kumar said on Monday.

"These illegal operators smoke, spit on the pavement and use vulgar language and even threatened me last week."

An accountant by profession, Mr Kumar was among stakeholders who met at the Nadi Town Council meeting on Monday.

He said the issue had been raised with police and the town council's enforcement unit but the problem was a daily saga, prompting him to consider closing his business.

Land Transport Authority's public transport unit staff member, Frances Vavaitamana said their team was working with the town council and police to address the many complaints of illegal operators in Nadi.

"There have also been issues raised regarding private companies using private cars as rentals," Ms Vavaitamana said.

She said they were compiling a list of illegal rental operations and working in groups to get the suspect vehicles impounded.

She noted that a freeze on applications for public service vehicle was still in place.

Council special administrator Robin Ali said he would convene a meeting between stakeholders to look into the issue.

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