Landowners query Papua highway

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday, June 6th 2011

By Deborah Moses
SRUMNAI Gre landowners in the North Fly district of Western are disappointed the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the Trans-Papua Highway was done despite their pleas for the government not to go ahead until all issues had been sorted out.
Srumnai Gre Landowners Association Incorporated secretary Aaron Dupnai said the traditional customary landowners had been by-passed in the initial stages of the project.
He said the chief landowners of Kiunga town and a large common land boundary running from the northern part of North Fly and parts of the Strickland and Fly River were unhappy they had nothing to say in the process.
He said despite being the customary landowners, the clan was not included as directors in the landowner company that signed the MoU.
The land was acquired under the Special Agriculture and Business Lease for 99 years.
Dupnai said this had alarmed the landowners who did not  want to be displaced from their heritage.
The clan, on behalf of 35 other clans and 90 ward members/councillors, que­ried the developers (Independent Timbers and Stevedoring PNG Ltd) interest in the area, saying the area had a high potential in forestry.
Dupnai said besides queries into the acquisition of land, the landowners would like to see the findings of a K30 million feasibility study being carried out.