By LUKE KAMA
THE Highlands Highway has contributed so much to the people and the country and must be respected by those living near it, Works Secretary David Wereh, says.
He criticised the roadblocks by disgruntled people living along the Highlands Highway including the blocking of a section of the highway in Kainantu district, Eastern Highlands, by traditional landowners at Bane.
They are demanding K85 million from the State as a non-land acquisition payment.
The highway was opened in 1953.
He said the action of the landowners was totally disrespectful, irresponsible and uncalled for.
“We must stop this practice,” he said.
Wereh said a K85 million compensation for the use of customary land was “strange”.
“Look at what the road has done since it was opened to traffic in 1953,” he said.
“Look at the buildings, the schools, the hospitals and countless other services provided after the opening up of this very important road between the different highlands provinces from Southern Highlands to Enga, and to Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu up to the Eastern Highlands and down all the way to Morobe in the Momase region and connecting the Ramu Madang Highway.
“Countless businesses were established from the start to the tail of the highway serving thousands of people and it must be respected.”
Wereh said the Works Department would take tough action on people blocking the highway.
By LUKE KAMA