Investigate mill breakdown, says FLP

The Fiji Labour Party has called for an investigation into two breakdowns at the Fiji Sugar Corporation's Lautoka mill this week. Picture: REINAL CHAND

THE Fiji Labour Party has called for an investigation into two breakdowns at the Fiji Sugar Corporation’s Lautoka mill this week.

The factory stopped for eight hours on Wednesday and more than 12 hours on Friday because of mechanical issues.

Party leader and former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry said one breakdown could be attributed to “teething issues” but two, with the second being a major issue, required immediate investigation.

“This is inexcusable,” he said. “They have just completed a $16 million upgrade, that is a lot of money and questions need to be asked.

“Who undertook this upgrade? Did they do it in-house or was it through external contractors?

“This requires an investigation because they are spending a significant amount of money and the mills are still not performing.

“Two breakdowns — with this latest issue being quite a major one — in the space of a few days means that something is obviously not right.”

The Fiji Sugar Corporation issued a statement on Friday, saying the Lautoka mill experienced a gear-box failure after crushing continuously since early Thursday morning.

FSC said repairs were complicated because of the location of the unit on the top level of the factory.

Lorry drivers at the mill were given the option of leaving their trucks and being transported home and back to the mill once repairs were completed.

The FSC said it would not respond to political commentary on any issue involving its operations.

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