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By Bonney Bonsella

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 26) – The Papua New Guinea government has allocated PGK225 million [US$78 million] for the rehabilitation of the highlands highway from 2005 to 2008, says Works Minister Gabriel Kapris.

Kapris also announced in Parliament last Thursday that PGK5 million [US$1.7 million] would be spent on design and upgrade of the Simbu highway to improve stability of land.

[PIR Editor's note: Simbu Province is located in the central part of Papua New Guinea's mainland peninsula.]

Kapris said the rehabilitation of the highlands highway was a priority of the present government.

The National Executive Council has given approval for the first process, which is waiting for the governor-general to execution in two weeks.

He said PGK63 million [US$22 million] would be spent on work between Western Highlands, Simbu and Eastern Highlands with two contractors starting work this week.

Kapris said a particular section of the highway in Simbu was affected by unstable ground and PGK5 million has been approved by the National Executive Council to carry out maintenance work.

The minister was responding to Simbu Governor Peter Launa on the road, which is the lifeline for his people and also links two resource-rich provinces of Enga and Southern Highlands.

The poor condition has affected transportation and Launa wanted to know when rehabilitation work would begin.

He also queried the allocation of funds from the Finance and Treasury Department for the section of road between Simbu and Eastern Highlands provinces.

April 27, 2006

The National:

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