Squatters face threat from power lines
June 26, 2019 7:30 am
The increasing construction of informal homes near Energy Fiji Limited’s overhead and underground power lines is a safety concern.
Housing Minister Premila Kumar says they will not tolerate the illegal construction of houses anywhere – especially near power grids.
Kumar is concerned with the safety of people illegally living near EFL infrastructures as it could result in tragic accidents.
“One has to understand that if you’re going to build under the power line, it is simply a safety issue and I am glad EFL is taking that issue seriously and my ministry must support them. If anything happens, imagine there will be loss of lives.”
Cunningham resident, Jone Finau says many families are in need for a roof over their head – even if it means having dangerous live power lines running just above.
“Most of us just choose to construct our houses underneath electrical wires and near grids because we can have access to electricity and plus there’s no space to build our homes – except near the power post. So we see a space empty, we construct but we know it’s dangerous.”
Many Fijians told FBC News it’s much cheaper for people to live in squatter settlements and forego the element of danger.
EFL released a statement saying they will take action against those who damage their public assets.
Minister Kumar says they will looking into the financial status of people living in squatter settlements.
“My ministry has got a squatter control unit established just recently. The work of that squatter control unit would be to ensure that houses are not build anywhere and anyhow.”
EFL will work with police and relevant authorities to investigate any reports of damage.