DEADLY PNG HIGHWAY MUST BE MADE SAFE

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Oct. 20, 2010) - Late Joseph Kingal and his wife, Susan are founders and directors of The Word, The Spirit and The Cross Evangelistic Ministries Inc. in Papua New Guinea (PNG), a non-denominational evangelistic ministry based in Lae city. The ministry was founded in 1994 and registered as an incorporated body in May 6, 1997.

Late Joseph Kingal holds a Diploma in Commerce and a Bachelor Degree in Accountancy from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology. He was called and anointed by the Lord while studying at the University in 1993. Since then he sensed the call of the Lord to go into full time ministry.

Joseph Kingal was ordained to the ministry in October 1993 at a brief service by the then Senior Pastor of Christian Revival Crusade in Lae, Sabob Newman. Susan Kingal holds a Diploma in Accounting from the Divine Word University, Madang. She also sensed the call of God and joined her husband in full time ministry right after her graduation in 1995. She had travelled with her husband around the country as well as overseas in gospel crusades, camps and conventions. They were returning one of such gospel crusades in Madang on Monday afternoon with their children when their vehicle over shot the notorious Zumim bridge, at Erap on the Markham plains.

The popular evangelist was a man of God and his death on that particular spot on the Highlands Highway highlights the serious dangers travellers on this road face every day and night.

The 600km Highlands Highway is PNG’s most important road asset because it serves as a critical transport link for the three million people living in the highlands region. The road connects the central highlands, which is home of the country’s K500 million a year coffee and K200 million a year tea industries, excellent organically grown vegetables, the Porgera gold mine, the Kutubu oil and gas project and the new K40 billion LNG project which is under construction at present in the Southern Highlands Province.

The highway, which for the most part is no more than a two-lane road, connects a number of major towns and serves as an essential link to the coastal ports of Lae and Madang. But frequent landslides and washouts mean parts of the highway are often impassable and accidents are frequent.

Businesses have voiced their concerns that the deteriorating condition of the highway is an impediment to doing business in the country and surely the LNG project will be affected, in one or another.

Calls have been made by the businesses, provincial governments, Members of Parliament from the region and the ordinary people for the government to fast track the rehabilitation of the highway and the government, we are sure, is aware of these demands.

While we wait for the government to get around to finding the money and getting the right companies to carry out the work, something must be done to prevent accidents and the loss of lives in the interim.

We are of the view that the National Road Authority and the National Road Safety Council should engage in dialogue with relevant government agencies and start implementing short term measures on the highway to cut down on the accidents, the deaths and injuries.

Road safety signs at places where there are landslips, washouts, huge potholes, bridges and corners should be erected to warn motorists. This is one immediate need. The other is emergency repairs, which must be carried frequently on very bad sections so that the flow of traffic is not interrupted and accidents are avoided.

Travellers and business on the Highlands Highway must be helped in every way possible to move without fear of accidents. It is their right.

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