Rakiraki town is under water again, for the eighth time in the past two weeks. And residents are blaming two new structures at each end of the township as the root cause.
Angry residents are calling for an investigation into the construction of the two buildings and want steps taken to address their adverse environmental impact.
George Shiu Raj buildings (above and below) on opposite sides of the road
The structures, (pictured) belong to businessmen George Shiu Raj and Bhimas Ltd.
The Shiu Raj building was constructed about seven years ago amidst much controversy. Its construction is believed to have been rejected by the then Ra Rural Local Authority (RRLA) following stiff public opposition, including that of the FSC, but was later sanctioned by ‘higher authority’ in the Qarase government. George Shiu Raj was at the time a member of the government.
The Bhimas structure was put up about two years ago and its construction too was stopped by the Ra Rural Authority but work on it was later resumed, again reportedly, following intervention from ‘higher authority’.
Both the structures were constructed on land raised through landfill and are believed to be blocking the natural flow of water through a creek into the sea. Instead, the water is now diverted back into the town.
“These structures have caused huge damage and much suffering to residents of Vaileka over the years.
“We want the matter thoroughly investigated and appropriate remedial action taken,” said an angry resident who has been badly affected by the floods.
Bhima’s heavy machinery yard (below):