There was tense discussions during a public consultation in Suva on the proposed construction of a hydro dam in Namosi.
This comes after Hydro Fiji proposed to build the dam on the land owned by the villagers of Waini-koroiluva, Waini-kovu and Waivaka in Namosi, and submitted the Environmental Impact Assessment Report to the Department of Environment for the proposed development.
In the public consultation at the FTA Hall in Knolly Street, some of the members of these landowning units living in Namosi and Suva claimed that they have not been consulted by various agencies and stakeholders, and also say that the people in the villages that agreed to the construction of the dam do not represent the whole landowning unit.
Hydro Fiji panel members during the consultations
They claim that the hydro dam will increase the river level which is normally used as a crossing by villagers.
Another person from the mataqali, Nabukebuke in the village of Navuni-kabi says they strongly oppose the construction of the dam.
Daniel Jason says their village is downstream from the three villages where the dam will be constructed and they will be prone to flooding.
Question being asked at the consultations
The villagers present at the public meeting also disagreed with the proposed inclusion of the Tui Namosi, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua in the discussion being held with the landowners and the company.
This comes after the Hydro Fiji CEO Dennis Wilkie highlighted in the meeting that the Tui Namosi will be present in a consultation in the three villages from this week.
These villagers who attended the consultation in Suva claim that the villagers in Namosi have been forced by the Tui Namosi to agree to the development.
Meanwhile, the Tui Namosi, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua has confirmed to Fijivillage that he did not force any villager to agree to the construction of the hydro dam.
Matanitobua says he respects the decision of some villagers that do not want this development, but he will decide on how to deal with the issue after he meets with the people and the company in Namosi this Thursday.
Hydro Fiji has confirmed in the consultations that they have submitted the Environmental Impact Assessment Report to the Department of Environment for the proposed development.
They say the project cost is $220 million and significant economic and social benefits are associated with the project.
Hydro Fiji has also highlighted that they have signed a power purchase agreement with Energy Fiji Limited on the project.
We are awaiting a response from EFL on the need to have the hydro dam and some specifics on the agreement.
We are also awaiting comments from the iTaukei Land Trust Board and the Minister for Environment, Doctor Mahendra Reddy.
Also present at the public consultation was NFP’s Lenora Qereqeretabua and SODELPA 2018 candidate, Faith Grace.ADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.