Fiji's PM officiates ground-breaking ceremony of China-constructed bridges

21:00, February 11, 2011      

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Fiji's Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama brought smiles to the people of Wainibuka in the Tailevu Provinces on Friday when he officiated at the ground- breaking ceremony of two China-constructed bridges.

The bridges are to be constructed by the China Railway Company at Wainibuka on the Kings Highway frequented by thousands of commuters daily. Funding for the two bridges is provided by the Asian Development Bank with the total amount of 9 million Fiji dollars (4.8 million US dollars).

Speaking at the ceremony, Bainimarama said the two bridges would be built by the China Railway Company Fifth Group which "is the same company that successfully built the Naqali Bridge (in the island nation)."

Bainimarama acknowledged that the Wainibuka area had always suffered from flooding, loss of food crops and loss of school days for children during natural disasters.

"This is why government is prioritising developments in this area," Bainimarama told the rural Fijian community in the area, adding "I encourage local residents to take advantage of the opportunities that will become available after the completion of these bridges."

According to Cai Shuizeng, economic counsellor of the Chinese Embassy to Fiji, the two bridges will be constructed to replace the old one, which will take one and a half years to complete.

As the majority workers are locals, the Chinese workers are happy to be associated with the friendly locals, he added.

"This is a very happy occasion to the Yavusa Rara and the Yavusa Bure because these bridges needed to be replaced. They were built way back in 1930," said 67-year-old villager Taitusi Nawaqabuli, praising the government and China for the initiative.

"The bridges are prone to flooding and many lives have been lost because of accidents on the two bridges," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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