K5mil allocated to put airstrips back on track

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THE Government has allocated K5 million for rural airstrips this year and will continue with increased funding to open up more airstrips, National Planning Minister Richard Maru says.
Maru said this in Parliament yesterday when responding to questions from Middle Ramu MP Johnny Alonk regarding the need to open up airstrips in his electorate and other remote electorates that depended on air transportation.
Alonk said access to transport was crucial for the delivery of basic services and the lack of transportation facilities was making service delivery difficult to the people of Middle Ramu. He said similar problems were faced by other remote districts.
Alonk urged the national government to clarify whether there were plans to open up and improve existing rural airstrips or were there any funds available for rural airstrips.
“We would like to know because we rely on airports and if things are still going on like what is happening at the moment, most of us in the rural districts who depend on airstrips will continue to suffer.”
Maru said the issues raised were true and the Government was eventually taking steps to address them.
“I want to start by confirming that the Government has already allocated K5 million in this year’s budget for the re-opening of rural airstrips,” he said.
“Over 108 airstrips in the country have been closed due to lack of funding and we are looking to increase funding next year and I encourage open members in those remote areas to work with the rural airstrips agency as this K5 million is not enough for everything.”

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