Compensation hinders development: Agiru

National, Normal


SOUTHERN Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru has urged his people not to demand unnecessary compensation payment that could obstruct road development and progress.
Mr Agiru made this call at the mountainous Kaluwe village in Pangia last Saturday when delivering a K1 million cheque for the rehabilitation of the famous and colonial kiap track, the Wiru Loop Road in remote South Wiru local level government council (LLG) area.
Mr Agiru said people living in the front of good road access should feel sorry for their brothers and sisters living at the back with poor accessibility.
He said the Government did not budget money for compensation and people should not demand this.
He said it was his government’s aim to connect all “forgotten people” in the province by road and the Wiru Loop road project is part of that plan.
Mr Agiru presented the K1 million to Ialibu-Pangia MP and Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill.
Other SHP MPs including Education Minister James Marape (Tari-Pori), James Lagea (Kagua-Erave) and Francis Potape (Komo-Margarima), accompanied both men in a show of solidarity.
They flew into the remote and mountainous area by chopper.
The Wiru road is a bush track and lifeline for more than 25,000 South Wiru LLG people. It begins at Kauwo village on the west end of Pangia station, and stretches further south-west for more than 60km before it ends at Maiya village on the east.
The road runs through the fertile Wiru plains, an area known for rich organic coffee.
It was built as a kiap track for patrol visits during the pre-colonial era by pioneer Pangia district dministrator Bryan O’Neill, father of Mr O’Neill.
Over the past 39 years, the track has fallen into a state of complete disrepair while the Wiru people bore the inevitable pain and struggles of carrying their produce to the market on foot for many hours.
People and the few public servants like teachers and nurses, trek by foot for nearly a whole day to get into Pangia station before jumping on PMVs to get into Ialibu, Mendi and Mt Hagen.
Mr Agiru said the eight open MPs from the province under his stewardship were united now more than ever before to bring development to the people and districts.
“We, the nine SHP MPs, work very hard work to arrest the biggest problem of having no development in the province.
“We want to see that after many years of failed promises and commitments by past and successive governments, services reached the people and places where there are no roads and people are connected with the outside world.
“Therefore, the people of South Wiru who have been neglected for a long time would now be connected by road,” he told about 5,000 people.
Mr O’Neill, who received the cheque on behalf of contractor Pangia Investment Corporations Ltd, commended Mr Agiru and the provincial government for prioritising and funding the road.
He said since 2002 under his leadership, the Wiru road was a priority and with limited funding,he was able to rehabilitate about 12km. Today, vehicles can travel from Kauwo to Weriko village.
Mr O’Neill said there was another 40km of the road yet to be rehabilitated.