The National, Friday July 19th, 2013
By GABRIEL LAHOC
The Independent Public Business Corporation has directed the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to stop all its operations on a disputed traditional land at Gabensis, Morobe.
CHEC, engaged to work on the Lae tidal basin project, has engaged a subcontractor to clear out the piece of land at Gabensis village and extract rocks to be used on the tidal basin project.
The village’s Seref clan, which shares the disupted land boundary with Marumwa clan, have expressed concerns that CHEC and its subcontractor did not consult them before digging up their land.
They were particularly concerned that there was no awareness and consultation with both clans, environmental and socio-economic impact assessment, and approval from relevant national and provincial government agencies.
Lae port tidal basin project director Ila Mari, who represents IPBC as the state’s executive agency, said in an email yesterday that he has directed the operation at Gabensis to stop and has instructed CHEC and project consultant Korea Engineering Consultants Corporation (KECC) to report to him.
“We will have to take the damage control mode, I have instructed the contractor and consultant to report to me and to stop operations,” Mari said.
He said all parties should work closely with the Morobe provincial administration to resolve the issues which the locals through Seref clan leader Awa Naimen had raised.
Mari advised the two clans to approach his office to resolve any issues they had instead of speaking out in the media.
“It takes time to get correct information in regard to sensitive issues and an any misreporting may cause a lot of problems and liability to either party,” he said.
“Be mindful that in Lae there are so many landowner groups and we need to investigate these carefully.
“Landowner issues are very sensitive and please do not use the media to resolve them.
“I welcome the landowner groups to speak with me to make a way forward.
“Most times it is difficult but we can resolve them.”