Dion awaits OCA response

National, Normal

EAST New Britain Governor Leo Dion is still waiting for a response from the Office of Civil Aviation (OCA) regarding problems being faced at the Tokua Airport.
These problems include the non-availability of a fire truck for emergency purposes at the airport, unreliable fire fighting equipment, constant water problems being experienced at the terminal and on-going power blackouts to emergency lightings along the runway.
Mr Dion said the ENB government was keen to help maintain facilities at Tokua Airport but the OCA had not responded.
He expressed disappointment with the relocation of a fire truck from Tokua to Wewak, saying there must be a replacement truck as safety in times of emergency was important.
It was learnt that the Kokopo fire station was recently asked to transfer one of its trucks to Tokua but this could not be done as two of the trucks were being serviced and they have only one in use.
Mr Dion said the OCA was taking too long in considering the provincial government’s request to set up a body to address on-going power and water shortages and vandalism while the OCA took care of the larger issues.
“OCA must act quickly and consider the provincial government’s request”.
He said an agreement could be signed between the OCA and the provincial government to pave the way for the Tokua authority to be set up and work with the two parties.
The ENB government has made its intentions clear that it wants to support Tokua as it has plans for development on the Tokua corridor beatification programme which has got businesses in the province expressing interest in these plans.
However, this proposed initiative by the ENB provincial government to take ownership of Tokua has been played down by OCA.
OCAs  response is that  it needed to seek approval from appropriate authorities before this could be done.
The National paid a visit to the OCA office at Tokua last Thursday only to be told by port manager Bill Burua that he was directed not to speak to the media and referred the reporter to OCA head office in Port Moresby.
“I have been directed by the authorities not to talk to media people,” Mr Burua said.
Attempts to get comments from the OCA office in Tokua and Port Moresby were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Air Niugini is now relying on OCA and the provincial government to rectify the problems.