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Government to speed up gravel license approvals

February 3, 2016 5:43 pm

The Government is expediting all approvals of gravel extraction licenses and the acquisition of land for the construction of rural roads.

This follows the signing of a three-year agreement on the development of rural roads throughout Fiji.

And while we can expect more road works in the rural areas soon, the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says there is a huge shortage of gravel.

“One of the major issues facing road construction and expediting the road construction is the availability of the gravel or the aggregate that needs to be of the right quality and that needs to be available in the right quantity to be able to carry out many of these works. That has been a significant issue for example in Kadavu they cannot find exactly the right type of aggregate. In fact, they are thinking about bringing it from Viti Levu.”

Under the three-year rural road development programme, Divisional Commissioners have been directed to help obtain all approvals needed to access gravel and land to build the roads.

To this effect, gravel extraction licenses will now be issued for up to five years. Currently they are for a one-year term.

On the other hand, gravel extraction is causing problems for people living near the extraction sites.

Villagers up the Navua River and the Dawasamu River in Tailevu are up in arms over the environmental impact as several companies are taking gravel from the two rivers.

Lands Minister Meresini Vuniwaqa says consultations are done prior to the granting of any license.

Gravel extraction licenses are issued by the i-Taukei Lands Trust Board.

The term of the license issued will depend on the volume of gravel available for extraction from the particular site.