Ba business owners vent frustrations over flooding issues

January 5, 2024 6:16 am

Ba Town

Business owners in Ba Town are expressing mounting frustration over the prolonged issue of flooding that has plagued their shops for decades.

Despite numerous pleas, they claim their concerns have fallen on deaf ears, leaving them grappling with the aftermath of every heavy rainfall.

Ba shop owner Pradeep Chandra believes the crux of the problem lies with the Elevuka River, which flows behind the businesses, remaining untouched by dredging efforts.

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Chandra stresses that it seems like they will forever be raising this issue.

“Actually, we have given up on the hope that there will be something done on the flooding issues of Ba because millions of tons of damage are done when there’s a flood, but thank God that sometimes there is no flood.”

Another business owner, Sheik Amam, questions the allocation of funds, pointing out that expenditures on non-essential projects have taken precedence over the crucial dredging of the Elevuka River.

Amam says instead of dredging the river, three sirens that cost $3 million were installed in the town.

“They have put the alarm system here; there is no use of putting the millions of dollars there and putting the alarm there; there is no use; what is the alarm system going to do with the flood?”

Ba Chamber of Commerce President Dinesh Patel says they are working closely with the council and government to ensure that concerted efforts will finally be made to rectify the situation.

“If the problem doesn’t get attended to, it becomes a bigger problem. And then, with a bigger problem, obviously, not only people suffer more, but obviously the government has got to pour in more funds.”

The last time Ba suffered a flood was in January last year, when a number of shops suffered significant damage.

These issues were also raised with Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and Deputy Prime Minister Biman Prasad during their tour of Ba last year.