30 Nov 2005

Concern in Fiji that land dispute could lead to power cuts

4:14 pm on 30 November 2005

There are suggestions in Fiji that a group of disgruntled landowners could threaten to shut the Monasavu Hydro Power Station by blocking the Fiji Electricity Authority's access to the dam.

A row has developed over the award of 32 million US dollars to some indigenous owners of the land on which the dam is built.

Four landowning units are questioning why eight other groups who have been receiving annual lease moneys of 216,000 US dollars will be paid compensation, when they are receiving nothing.

A Fiji Times reporter, Timothy Naivalawaqa, says the four haven't received a cent since their land was taken over in the early eighties and one of their options is to block access to the power station.

"That area's the one that is basically powering the FEA hydro dam up in Monosavu, so if they block that off, if they deny the FEA usage, I'm not sure what will happen."

Mr Naivalawaqa says they believe they were robbed of their resources by both the government and the electricity authority.