By JACOB POK
PEOPLE living along the Mangiro to Waghi Bridge section of the Highlands Highway in Simbu province, whose houses and food gardens are to be cleared for major rehabilitation work on the Highlands Highway, will receive about K50 million early next month.
This commitment from the Government was announced by Works Secretary Joel Luma at a meeting with the project consultants and representatives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Port Moresby on Tuesday.
Highlands Highway rehabilitation programme executive settlement committee chairman, John Kamb, praised Mr Luma and the Government for the commitment of the funds to compensate the people.
Mr Kamb said two local consultant companies, Wera Mori Resources Ltd and Land Mark Valuers, took up the land verification exercise last April 19 to Oct 30, and covered about 67.05km of the surrounding section of the highway.
Referring to the land verification report, Mr Kamb said a total of 8,057 property owners living along the Simbu to Jiwaka section of the highway were identified using a satellite GPS system.
He said the roads would be extended 20m from both sides.
Mr Kamb said the final reports of the verification exercise were presented to the Works Department and later approved by the Government to pay the people who would be affected before work on the highway commences.
He said the land issue had always been a problem and thanked the two consultant companies for a job well done in identifying property owners using instruments such as satellite GPS system.
He said the verification exercise had been concluded successfully without any disputes.