Equipment for highway ready

National, Normal

The National – Thursday, June 23, 2011

MORE than K3 million worth of new road construction equipment is to be flown into the remote Karimui area of Chimbu for the Karimui-Kundiawa highway.
“Our equipment, trucks and vehicles are going to Karimui without any guarantee of return and their fate depends on continuous government funding for the road,” Oasis Enterprises mana­ging director Camilus Dagima said last weekend.
“When these equipment, trucks and vehicles return to Kundiawa, they will bring the Karimui-Kundiawa highway with them.”
Two PC 200 excavators, a D6 bulldozer, four dump trucks and support LandCruiser vehicles are ready to be airlifted.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare made a commitment during a trip to Kundiawa in 2004 during the funeral of late former Chimbu Governor Fr Louis Ambane, that the government would provide more funding towards opening up of Karimui with an accessible road.
The government has allocated K20 million under this year’s budget and divided into two
(K10 million each) for Oasis Enterprises Ltd and Sky Development Corporation.
Oasis Enterprises started from Karimui station, crossing Waghi River and into Tua River through the thick jungles, while Sky Development Corporation began from Dirima village, in Gumine district, and into Degepaume village.
It will make fresh cuts and clearance from Yobadibol village and into the jungles to Tua River.
Dagima said Oasis Enterprise Ltd had already mobilised equipment in his Kunabau village ready to be dismantled and airlifted from the Mingende Catholic Mission into Karimui.
“The equipment will be stripped into 10-tonne components for airlifting, reassembled at the site, test run before being handed over to Oasis Enterprise to start work,” he said.
He said they were waiting for the release of funds from the Finance Department and Karimui district office in order to fly the equipment into Karimui.
Oasis Enterprise has engaged 16,757 people to clear 34km of virgin forest and cut down trees from Karimui station to Wara Tua using axes and bush knives supplied by the contracting company.
“We have already cleared and established a pilot track for this project,” he said.
Dagima and his team of engineers flew into Karimui recently and spent over K600,000 for locals to begin clearing work for the project.
The clearance now paves way for machines to be moved in to do excavation work. 
Dagima said the pro­ject was under-funded as they need more than K200 million to make the highway become an all-weather road.
Chimbu’s remote Karimui area has a huge economic potential but had not developed as it is only accessible by air.
It has the famous Waghi River that splits the fertile Karimui plateau stretching from the borders of Eastern Highlands at the foot of Mt Crater Gold, Gulf, near the Wabo area, to the bushes of Kagua-Erave in Southern Highlands  and West Kambia, Jiwaka, in Western Highlands.