Chaudhry: It’s absurd to ask people to fix roads

Road workers patching roads along Raiwaqa in Suva. Picture: FILE

It is absurd to ask people who are struggling to survive to fix roads, says Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

He was responding to comments made by Commissioner Central Josefo Navuku during a talanoa session with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Delainavesi on Monday, calling on people to find other means to fix deteriorated roads, while they waited on Government.

Mr Navuku made this statement in a response to requests from residents of Nadonumai, Lami, to fix roads in their area.

“It is government’s responsibility to ensure that our roads are kept well maintained,” Mr Chaudhry said.

He said community contribution on rural road maintenance was removed by the Labour government in 1999, as it was seen to be an imposition on the poor.

“Government collects huge sums from road user levy, fuel tax, licensing fees, stamp duty, fines and penalties which should be spent on keeping our roads safe and motorable.

“We have come a long way since. Overall, our roads are in a disgraceful state.

“We have been spending an average of $430m annually for the last seven years but have not been getting value for it. I think too much of it is eaten up in corruption.

“Our smaller neighbours in the Pacific have relatively better roads. Despite huge public outcry about our pathetic roads, there is not even a murmur from the prime minister, who seems rather busy cutting ribbons here and there.”

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