Cane crushing at Lautoka Sugar Mill has been delayed because of a technical issue.
Fiji Sugar Corporation’s CEO, Graham Clark says their team is working around the clock to fix a boiler issue that occurred during their pre-opening tests and they will be able to announce soon a firmer opening date for the Lautoka Mill.
Crushing at Lautoka Sugar Mill was scheduled to start yesterday.
FSC has also stated that it will not respond to third party comments after the National Federation Party said the last minute deferment of crushing at the country’s largest sugar mill is gross negligence and failure on the part of the FSC, the Sugar Industry Tribunal and the Ministry of Sugar to ensure the certification of the state of preparedness of the mill before announcing the start date of harvesting and crushing.
NFP’s Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says the decision has resulted in huge losses for cane growers and lorry operators who would have financially struggled to ensure preparedness on their part for a smooth start to the season only to see their hard work dashed by sheer negligence on the part of FSC and other stakeholders.
Prasad says growers will now have to fork out additional funds to ensure food and other basic needs of cane cutters hired to harvest cane are maintained.
He has questioned whether FSC will bear the cost of cartage of sugarcane harvested and delivered to the mill on Tuesday by both rail and lorry, to Rarawai mill.
Prasad has also asked why the FSC failed to carry out live tests to expose defects and deficiencies at least two weeks before the start of crushing as was normally done before and why didn’t FSC use sugarcane harvested from its own estates to carry out the live tests.
The Permanent Secretary for Sugar, Yogesh Karan says he will not make any comments on the issues raised by the NFP.
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