Better road for Naivaka villagers

TRAVELLING experience is about to change for villagers of Naivaka as their road is now part of the Fiji Road Authority’s unsealed road package project this year.

Labelled as a death trap by villagers the road was constructed in 2000 but had been mostly inaccessible because of its condition.

Naivaka village elder Niumaia Bekani said it has become a norm for villagers to pay close to $100 to hire carriers from the village to Labasa or hire boats to a nearby landing at Nakadrudru, Lekutu,” he said.

“Villagers often have to brave bad weather to travel by boat and access services at the nearest government centre of Nakadrudru or to travel to Labasa.

“The hardship that villagers continue to face is not easy because it directly affects their livelihoods.”

Another village elder, Joji Saumakivale, said they had even raised their plight to government ministers who visited over the past years.

“They had assured us they would look into the matter, but so far nothing has been done and our people are still waiting,” he said.

“The state of our roads has seen our elderly die in the village because of the difficulties in transporting them to the nearest nursing station at Navakasiga.”

Meanwhile a statement from the authority revealed that the road would be part of the Naviqiri-Naivaka access road.

“Works on the road will include designing and building approximately 8.5 kilometres of unsealed road,” the statement said.

“Works also include designing and building of one low level crossing including approaches.

“Another work site includes the designing and building of approximately 6 kilometres of unsealed road along the Kadavu-Raviravi road in Seaqaqa.”

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