Delay in crushing worries Waisale

Peni Waisale (left) receives groceries from Johnson Midway Neighbourhood Zone committee members Sumit Deo and president Salvesh Deo at his home in Johnson Rd, Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The decision by Government to push back the start date for crushing at the Lautoka mill has not gone down well for labourers who have been hit hard by COVID-19 and were looking forward to earning an income from cutting cane.

Peni Waisale, a labourer from Drasa, Lautoka, said he has been a canecutter for the past two decades and was anticipating an early start to the season to provide for his family.

Sugar Ministry permanent secretary Yogesh Karan said after consultation with industry stakeholders – FSC and Sugar Cane Growers Council – a decision was made to push back the June 4 start date because of health risks associated with COVID-19.

Mr Waisale said while labourers understood that tough decisions needed to be made, they were concerned about what to feed their families.

He said they recently received groceries from the Johnson Midway Neighbourhood Zone and hoped it would be sufficient to take the family through to the start of the crushing season.

“This is a huge blessing for me and my wife,” Mr Waisale said.

“We have been here for 25 years as labourers and this is usually the time of the year we get some regular money because the mill should have been crushing by now.

“I am so thankful to the Johnson Midway group, the food they provided should take us through the next few weeks.”

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