Shutdown affects locals


ABOUT 700 employees of the billion kina Turubu oil palm project in East Sepik have not been able to work for almost a week.
Turubu LLG president David Kausik said the 700 workers were from neighbouring districts of Wewak, Maprik, Angoram and Yangoru-Saussia and have families to look after.
He said Monday was the fifth day since the project was shut down.
The K1.2 billion project was shut down recently after the landowners petitioned the Government to immediately rectify the now cancelled SABL Portion 144C to ensure the project proceeded unhindered.
This followed National and Supreme Court decisions to cancel the SABL Portion 144C effectively, returning the 10,000 hectare land back to the customary landowners.
Last Sunday, hundreds of landowners from the six affected incorporated landowner groups (ILGs) from three different electorates with the support of beneficiaries of the project from all over East Sepik which included youths, women and children carrying placards and banners, converged on the site of the new township of Turubu to present their four point petition.
Kausik received the petition on behalf of East Sepik Governor Sir Michael Somare and the State.
Chairman of landowner company, Limawo Holdings Ltd, James Dawa said: “If nothing is done about this issue, we the project landowners stand to lose K200 million in direct dividends alone annually
“That is from our 20 per cent stake in the project.
“How much the national and provincial government will lose in tax revenue and dividends is another matter.
“We accept and acknowledge the decision of the Supreme Court that was handed down on Aug 30.
“We respect the recent National and Supreme Court decisions but this does not change our desire to develop our land and improve our lives.
“We the customary landowners are the custodians of the land and the Wewak (Turubu) integrated agriculture oil palm project. We hereby, make it clear that we will work in partnership with our developer, Sepik Oil Palm Plantation Limited and its developer partner Wewak Agriculture Development Limited to continue to develop the Wewak (Turubu) integrated agriculture oil palm project on our land.”

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