New Crossings Put Long Wait To Rest


More than a decade of wait is over for community members living in the village of Nasavu in Deuba as the Government announced the construction of a total of 52 foot-crossings around the country recently.

Village elder, 75-year-old, Seveci Bat­irerega highlighted that during heavy downpour the water fills up the drain, spills over the foot-crossing and also en­ters homes.

“During this time our children find it difficult to cross the foot-crossing or are unable to go to school and it is tough for the elderly to go to the hospital,” Mr Batirerega said.

“We have been waiting patiently for the past 15-year for someone to listen to our plea and I am grateful to the current Government to come to our aid when we need it the most.”

A 7-foot crossing will be constructed which will assist about 50 households to commute to the next village and the main road.

Nasavu village is connected to Sadro Village by its foot-crossing which faces more problems as they are situated next to the sea.

Village turaga-ni-koro, Lenaitasi Salili, said their current foot-bridge was con­structed 10 years ago and daily use over the years have taken a toll on it and dur­ing heavy rainfall the water level rises above the foot-crossing.

“We have a population of about 205 people who use this way daily to com­mute to the main road including people from Sauniveiuto village,” Mr Salili said.

“School children, elderly and expect­ant mothers are at a risk because climate change is also affecting us as we always have to vacate our homes and stay at the community hall when the sea-level rises especially when it starts flooding.”

Community members have conveyed their appreciation towards the Fijian Government for the initiative it took in reaching out to the people in Deuba, Serua province and meeting the request for the 15-metre foot-crossing to be con­structed at an elevated level.

Minister for Waterways and Environ­ment, Dr Mahendra Reddy said this pro­ject will go a long way in improving the quality of livelihood of people in the ru­ral and maritime development areas be­cause it will address their request which has been pending since 2014.

“We have compiled some new and backlogged list of places where foot-crossing is urgently needed as without it our people are facing a lot of difficulties in not having access to markets and they struggle in getting to school and work,” Minister Reddy said.

The project falls under the ministry’s “Hop-Skip & Jump” program - a first ever green, sustainable pedestrianized community crossing - and is estimated to cost about quarter million dollars and expected to be completed before the end of the year.

“I am hoping that after the completion of these projects in rural communities the morals of our ordinary Fijians will be boosted and they will find relief in reaching to their destination,” Minister Reddy added.