Patel to visit site

Energy Fiji Limited chairman Dakshesh Patel shows the picture of the Wainisavulevu Dam in Monasavu during a press conference this week. Picture: RAMA/FILE

ENERGY Fiji Ltd chairman Daksesh Patel said yesterday he hoped to visit the Wainisavulevu Weir to see whether there was really any impact to the environment as a result of further works to raise it in 2015.

Mr Patel said he had not been to the area but intended to visit places where EFL assets were.

When asked whether EFL had predicted the impact of damage to the eco-system around Wainisavulevu, Mr Patel said that The Fiji Times is “insinuating something which is not factually correct”.

“You are not an environmental scientist, you’re a journalist who’s trying to assume things that are not correct,” said Mr Patel.

Mr Patel would not comment on satellite images and photographs obtained by The Fiji Times showing extensive forest destruction in the Wainisavulevu Weir expansion area.

Meanwhile The Fiji Times editor Fred Wesley said the press conference raised more questions than answers.

“The first question is why EFL said that the Wainisavulevu Weir was raised only six metres when the project brief on EFL’s own website clearly said that it had been raised eight metres.

“The project brief was changed at 4.48pm today (yesterday), after the press conference. It was changed to say that the weir had been raised six metres. “The EFL chairman did not at any time during his news conference say that this correction would be made. He did not say that the project brief was wrong and needed to be corrected. So we will be asking why this change was made.

“We do not accept that the facts on the story were ‘all wrong’. We will be asking EFL more questions in the days to come. “Note also that we made every effort to get a response from EFL to balance our story. Emailed questions were sent to EFL’s CEO Hasmukh Patel on Wednesday, July 18. “At 6.16pm on that day, Mr Patel responded, acknowledging the email and said he would respond the next day. This did not happen.

“When we followed up he again responded on July 23 and said he would answer questions on Wednesday, July 25. This did not happen either, and after that the CEO’s phone was diverted. We have also asked government ministers for their responses. We received nothing.

“So we have done everything we could do to get EFL’s side of the story. At the press conference the EFL chairman did not seem to know that we had heard from the CEO.”

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