Residents suffer in silence from development

May 14, 2024 6:50 am

The residents of Sakoca Informal Settlement, a densely populated neighborhood in Nasinu, have suffered in silence from a development in their area.

FBC News understands that the Sakoca Informal Settlement Upgrading Project started in 2022; initiated by the government through the Ministry of Housing that has contracted Viti Vanua Holdings Private Limited.

Area Advisory Councilor, Indar Bisun says that the development has affected infrastructure in the area, adding unnecessary burden in their lives.

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Bisun says there were already struggling due to a number of challenges, and the recent development has only worsened their situation.

“Since 2022 in November when the development started here, the developer – he is just developing anyhow and without approval and permission from Water Authority, they have been damaging the main pipes, service pipes and our private pipes.”

The Advisory Councilor also expresses discontentment over the way in which the contractor attempts to solve the damage to their infrastructure.

“As soon as they damage then they bury it with sand and soil. So, when water is released by the Water Authority of Fiji – the debris and all those things go inside the pipes. So, that is why it lowers the pressure of water in our taps.”

Bisun says their plight for immediate action from authorities has fallen on deaf ears.

“We have been talking to Director for Housing and sending emails, but there is not much response or positive response coming from them. Only, they will say that they will look into it but we need action.”

The Area Advisory Councilor claims that the development has been unprogressive since it started in 2022, with little to no progress over the years.

In response to the complaints, the Housing Ministry says they had initially informed residents of possible disruptions, but they are committed to ensure minimal impact.

Permanent Secretary, Manasa Lesuma says the contractor has been advised to repair the damaged water pipes as soon as possible to minimize any disruption.

The Housing Ministry says the Sakoca Informal Settlement Upgrading Project has encountered delays due to adverse weather conditions, but construction is currently 65% complete.

It is closely working with the contractor to ensure the successful completion of the project. Once the project is completed, individuals can apply for allocated lots with 99 year leases.