BY SAMIE WAIKORI
VEHICLE owners on Malaita are losing huge amounts of money on fees charged for road maintenance conducted by individuals and communities living along the north and east roads from Auki.
The practice started a few months back and continues, especially within the areas of Dala to Gwounaoa in west Kwara’ae.
The people behind the activity are claiming money for temporary patching of certain parts of the road with gravels and even soil.
On Tuesday this week, Island Sun joined a team from World Vision Solomon Islands to travel up to East Malaita and upon the team’s return to Auki, they came across a road block just before going to Airahu.
A bamboo was placed across the road and on one end of it was a paper attached with a demand of $100 written on it.
A woman in her 30s was manning the road block in a nearby canteen house and when the two vehicles used by the team stopped at the road block, she approached the first vehicle.
She said the boys who put up the road block went somewhere and she was told to look after the blockade and collect money from passing vehicles.
Without hesitation, $200 was given to her from the team for the two vehicles before the bamboo was removed.
This paper also witnessed similar incidents a few months ago within the areas of Fote to Kwaisuliniu and in certain areas along the east road.
The public of north and east Malaita especially transport owners are the ones affected the most on such practice as they provide regular transport service along the roads.
This paper also understands that the east road is currently under rehabilitation.