The National, Friday 24th August 2012
By GABRIEL LAHOC
MOROBE Governor Kelly Naru’s suggestion of planned settlements instead of those started by squatters on traditional and state land has received the backing of the Ahi land mobilisation programme.
Naru, who was asked his opinion of the expanding squatter settlements in Lae and the need for proper urbanisation, said he would only support planned settlements – properly surveyed, mapped and leased.
Other features of planned settlements include proper streets, drainage system, water and electricity supply and other utilities such as street lights.
He said the ideally planned settlement should be like the Tent City residential area in Lae, which was achieved under the leadership of Morobe premier the late Utula Samana.
Chairman of the Ahi land mobilisation programme John Ngandang supported the idea of planned settlement, saying squatter settlements around Lae have contributed to lawlessness.
“We want to do away with all squatter settlements. We want only the genuine city residents who are working and contributing meaningfully to be on our traditional land,” he said.
Ngandang, who will meet Naru and Lae MP and Minister for Community Development, Youth and Religion Loujaya Toni on the issue later said the national and provincial governments should liaise with the traditional landowners to put up areas that can be leased out for planned settlements.
“Governor Naru and Loujaya Toni are locals, they both know the problem by heart, you cannot solve anything if you leave the locals out of it,” he said.
He went further by calling for a special vagrancy act to be implemented in Morobe to prevent the influx of unemployed people from the other provinces.
“This should be a special case for Morobe. Morobe is different because it is accessible to all the other regions,” he said.