Ahis told to look after their land

Lae News, Normal

The National, Friday, 27th May 2011

A  LANDOWNER has urged the Ahi people not to sell their land in Lae.
Kelley Naru of Yalu Village, outside Lae, said that instead landowners should have proper settlement plans drawn up or they could run out of land.
Naru said outsiders should respect the landowners and not take over Ahi land whenever they felt like it.
He said yesterday in the next decade or so the Ahi people may not have any more land because most of their land would be sold off cheaply or taken over by outsiders.
Naru said it had now reached a stage where the real landowners “are pinned into a corner with very little or no land available for their future generations while outsiders are having a field day”.
He made the call during the launching of electricity and water supply into An­kinghu customary land block at Kamkumung village yesterday.
Naru said the Ahi people from Yanga, Sipaia, Butibam, Kamkumung, Hengali and Yalu should have proper plans for their blocks of land before they are sold and or leased them to outsiders.
“That will help them to identify who is who and it will make it easier if they want to bring in utility services like water, electricity and sewage systems,” he said.
Forty-eight families who had settled on the Ankinghu customary land had electricity and water connected to their homes this week.

Water was connected by the PNG Water Board, which ran a pipe 430 metres from the main pipeline while PNG Power made the electricity connections.
Angkinghu block landowner, Massa Bani said he had planned his land and called it the Ankinghu Residential Scheme.
He said it took the collective efforts of him, his family and the settlers to plan and negotiate with the two service providers.
PNG Power New Guinea mainland regional manager, Martin Bigiglen told the recipients that they were fortunate to have the services connected to their settlements.
“We were obliged to provide the service because we saw your keenness and the initiative that you have put in,” he said.
He assured the settlers PNG Power would include street lighting but urged them to clear trees and other obstacles.
The settlers danced and put on a drama to depict the hardships they faced, especially in finding water for drinking, cooking and washing for many years.
They said they drank rain water collected in 44-gallon drums during rainy seasons and used the Bumbu river in the dry season.
Naru told them if they looked after the services it would make way for other services like rubbish collection, sewerage piping systems and others, to come in.
He donated K5000 as pre-payment for water and electricity bills for the settlers.