Kopiago leader: Census ignored us

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 22nd November 2011

MORE than 4,000 people living in the remote parts of Koroba-Lake Kopiago electorate, in the Hela region of Southern Highlands, have not been included in the recent nationwide census, a community leader claims.
The community leader from Kopiago, Allan Pawiya travelled into Mt Hagen last week said census officials refused to travel by foot into areas inaccessible by road.
He said those areas included Ambi, Waki, Husai, Mali, Wanikepa, Ekili, Bulako, Wara Nene, which share a common border with West Sepik; Tali, Arene, Yakatone which share a border with Enga; Topi and Humime. 
Pawiya said some of those places like Wanikepa had rural airstrip but many others had none.
He said because of the remoteness it would take more than three days to walk into those areas from Kopiago.
He said more than 4,000 people living in these places were not counted in the census carried out in July.
Pawiya said formal complaints had been lodged with Kopiago district administrator Stanley Kotange, district affairs officer Newman Pakalu and the Hela Transitional Authority (HTA) to take the matter up with the census office but they had not received any feedback.
He said because of the remoteness of the places and the high cost of travel, the people tried to talk to the relevant government authorities in Kopiago district about issues but they had been ignored.
He called on the four council presidents in Koroba-Kopiago, local MP John Kekeno and HTA chairman William Bando to talk with the census office and arrange for census officers to visit those places to count people there.
He said a census was important for planning.
Pawiya said the Hela region, which would soon be declared a new province, “needs to know the exact number of people living in the region when delivering goods and services”.