SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Feb. 14) - Some 170 redundant mine workers who have opted for farming will be assisted by the interim government under the Farming Assistance Scheme.

This follows the interim Cabinet's endorsement of policy changes to the category of assistance provided under the Farming Assistance Scheme to include redundant mine workers.

Interim Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests Minister, Mr. Jainendra Nand, says the policy change will help curb social problems that may arise from the sudden closure of the Emperor Gold Mine.

[PIR Editors Note: According to PIR files, Emperor Gold Mine will pay out a total of US$5.6 million in redundancy packages for out-of-work miners.]

Nand says the workers will receive FJ$10,000 [US$5,938] in assistance each as a one-off payment in kind, in line with present guidelines and procedures.

He says land acquired by Government for resettling ALTA tenants will be looked at as a means of acquiring farming lots for agriculture activities and for relocation.

A stringent selection criterion will be put in place to avoid double dipping, and those who have access to their own land will not be given lots in the resettlement areas.

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