Poorly managed drains raise flood concerns

NAGIGI farmers outside Labasa have expressed their concerns about the state of drains in the area, saying it was a major contributor to flooding during heavy rain.

Canefarmer Atish Chand claimed flooding in the area was caused by poorly managed drains.

Mr Chand said with little rain in the area, the blocked drains would get filled up with water which ended up on the farms.

“We hear that a ministry has been set aside to look into the issue, but nothing has changed,” he said.

“This continues to be a problem in the area and as a result, farmers suffer because they lose their crops.

“Something needs to be done because we will continue to lose our crops during any heavy downpour.”

Another farmer Shalendra Prasad claimed the condition of drains in the area was pathetic.

“Despite raising our concerns with authorities, nothing is done. The drains remain clogged with overgrown bush,” he claimed.

Mr Prasad said the clogged drains also became a perfect breeding site for mosquitoes.

When contacted at 10am yesterday for a comment, Minister for Waterways Dr Mahendra Reddy asked this newspaper to call him again at 1.30pm.

However, several calls made to him remained unanswered as his phone had been switched off.

In a statement on Wednesday, Dr Reddy revealed a team of engineers from Suva was currently in the North to identify the acute areas and strategic plans were in progress to reduce duration of flooding in extreme events, while other works would be handled by the ministry’s northern staff.

Dr Reddy said members of the community may lodge their requests at the Labasa Waterways office, contacting Sanjay on 891 6945 or 881 1592 and Gyan on 9904320.

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