The National, Wednesday July 10th, 2013
By FRANCIS POKA
JUHA landowners in liquefied natural gas project areas in the Koroba-Kopiago district of Hela have praised Minister for Petroleum and Energy William Duma for instructing the department to re-do social mapping and land demarcation.
Juha PDL 9 Sinali Landowner Association chairman Eddy Tandi said the association would welcome and support Duma and his team to identify the legitimate landowners.
Tandi said the Juha gas project was located on the customary land of four groups – Snali, Febi, Tugupa and Pogaye.
He said social mapping or land demarcation officers must use paramount chiefs, village councillors, village court officials, church pastors and the chairman of the umbrella landowner association to carry out awareness before the actual social mapping and land demarcation proceeds.
He said the project was located at Koruna and the officers must be based at Koroba station and facilitate the process so that every man, woman and child were party to the process.
“Juha landowners were not properly identified, were mistreated and overlooked from the start of the project by the government and ExxonMobil,” Tandi said.
He said the umbrella benefit sharing agreement in Kokopo was not followed as payments of seed capital were unfairly distributed and many landowners missed out or did not receive their share.
Tandi urged the department officials to be transparent and to involve all parties concerned and conduct business in the villages or the project area and not elsewhere.