K2m for border road

National, Normal

FOREST Minister Belden Namah has presented K2 million to Vanimo Forest Products to build a 12km road  connecting Immonda to Vanimo.
Mr Namah presented the cheque to Vanimo Forest Products (VFP) representatives at Smok village and also did the ground breaking for the new road to be undertaken by the company.
It was also the first time in Sandaun for an MP to give money to existing development partner to build a road.
The minister said this was part of the public private partnership approach the Government was pushing, so its development partners could bring much needed services to remote areas of the country.
He challenged VFP and all other development partners to honour agreements signed between the company and landowners.
Mr Namah also told landowners that compensation was not in the people’s customary and tradition books and should never be allowed to grow roots.
“If the company wants to get gravel for the road, do not ask the company to pay for gravel. Give it free for development,” Mr Namah urged villagers.
He made the remarks after travelling more than four hours in muddy conditions that saw his vehicle skidded a number of times and a Defence Force vehicle had to be pulled out from road banks.
Currently, there is no road between Immonda and Vanimo, while it takes about a day’s walk to reach Smok and then by road to Vanimo.
Most of the coffee and other produce were sold across the border in Indonesia where it was much closer than Vanimo.