The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013
By RIGGO NANGGAN
BULOLO and Wau, in Morobe, have been the haven for “milk and honey” for government and foreign investors for many decades but are still not seeing any tangible developments.
This was raised at a public forum organised by the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission and Bulolo district administration last Thursday.
The two towns were the pillars of development in Papua New Guinea since the 1930s but were the last in any development today.
Many participants raised concerns that Bulolo and Wau were referred to as mining towns and they were, but there is nothing to show for it.
“Prices of goods and services are sky high here because our two towns come under the names “mining town” and although it is true that a mining boom is taking place in our district we, the local people are being hit hard and not the mining companies or their employees,” a speaker, Bruce Yuka, said.
Bulolo district administrator Tae Guambalek had to cut into discussions and explain that the team, lead by the chairman, Tambul-Nebilya MP, Benjamin Poponawa and Gazelle MP Malakai Tabar as Commissioner, was there to gauge ideas and views, especially from the affected communities of the Watut River towards the review of environmental and mining laws relating to management and disposal of tailings.
Included in the team were lawyers, officers from Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and NGO representatives.
Deputy chairman of the Upper Watut River Impact Communities Association Robert Petrus told the forum that many people living along the Watut riverine have encountered problems such as skin rashes and sores, especially on their legs and genital areas.
Petrus later handed a copy of a report compiled by the association containing information and photographs of environmental damaged and effects on the people to Poponawa and Tabar.
Poponawa said before the forum in Bulolo, they tried to gain access into Hidden Valley but were rejected by the company.
The team has visited Porgera, OK Tedi before coming to Bulolo.
They will visit Lihir next.