PNG HELD AT RANSOM OVER LANDOWNERS CLAIMS

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Aug. 24) - The Government and the Koiari landowners need to resolve the ongoing dispute over the Rouna hydro-electricity scheme and the Sirinumu water supply system once and for all.

This dispute has been a major threat to Port Moresby for many years and there seems to be no ending to it.

The Government cannot be held at ransom each time threats are issued. That is unacceptable. Koiari landowners must pursue their claims through peaceful, legal means with a clear understanding that the Government cannot meet all their demands at once.

A long-term agreement needs to be worked out between the Government and the landowners to ensure the landowner grievances are addressed through a peaceful process and that the Government meets its obligations - if agreed - in accordance with the agreement.

We cannot have the capital city of this nation being under threat of water and electricity cuts frequently and the Government reacting each time landowners march into the Rouna power house.

There needs to be a responsible approach to this long standing dispute so that it is resolved once and for all to the satisfaction of all parties -- and in the best interests of the city.

In the meantime, both the Government and the boards of PNG Power Limited and Eda Ranu should look at developing an alternative power and water supply system for Port Moresby. Let’s face it, the city is expanding.

What will it be like in the next 20 to 50 years?

The present Sirinumu dam and the Rouna scheme are under a lot of pressure given the increasing demand for both electricity and water. At the rate the city is growing, we could face a total systems collapse if we continue to rely on the present system.

But the point is that right now, Port Moresby needs a back-up system to ensure that business and residential needs for both water and electricity are not disrupted unnecessarily and frequently.

August 25, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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