By ZACHERY PER
SOME 45,000 people of Gembogl sub-district of Simbu province are in dire need of better transport facilities to generate income for school fees.
They rely heavily on the sale of vegetables to pay their children’s fees but the roads and bridges have been damaged by landslides.
Former Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Wagi Merimba urged the Government to help these people after 25 years of being neglected.
“The road is the only link for the people of Mitnande and Niglkande. It is clear the local governments have failed or did not maintain the road,” Mr Merimba said.
He said Gembogl supplied fresh vegetaqbles for Kurumbukari and Yandera mines on the other side of the range in Usino-Bundi district of Madang province.
“When I was serving as MP for the district from 1987 to 1992, I ensured money for the road remained with the provincial Works to carry out regular maintenance.
“Taxis, buses and PMV Dyna trucks would jam Gembogl and the people would earn substantially from selling greens for school fees and domestic needs.
“Gembogl is also an important tourist destination because Mt Wilhelm, the highest mountain, is located here.
Tourists vist every month and they too need good roads to travel,” the former MP said.
“Gembogl has 12 primary schools, one provincial high school, more than 25 elementary schools and one vocational centre.
“It also has four health centres, many churches, public servants and Gembogl sub-districts and Digicel towers at four locations. They all need good roads to transport supplies and serve the people,” Mr Merimba said.
He, however, thanked Simbu Governor Fr John Garia and provincial administrator Joe Kunda for engaging heavy machines from Gumine Development Corporation (GDC) which have started maintenance work on the road.
Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Joe Mek Teine, when contacted, said the National Government had approved the major rehabilitation of the road and bridges.
“The delay of Government processes is frustrating the implementation of a K270 million project to upgrade the highway with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and I have chipped in another K1 million for the project.
“Non-stop upgrading work will start next month, stretching to the Yandera mine in Madang,” he added.