The National, Wednesday October 16th, 2013
By JUNIOR UKAHA
THE people of Burum-Kuat, one of the most rugged and remote locations in Morobe, have expressed disappointment over their exclusion from the province’s communication rollout programme.
Patrick Angonde, a village leader from Sambinong village in Mindik, Burum-Kuat Local Level Government (LLG) in Finschhafen, yesterday said the decision by the provincial government not to include them in the programme was a slap on the face.
Angonde, who claimed to speak on behalf of more than 6,000 people, made this call after the provincial government and mobile phone company Digicel PNG Ltd entered into an agreement last Thursday to roll out communication infrastructure in some districts in Morobe.
Sites selected for the programme include Nawaeb, Waria and Garaina in Bulolo, Ongawafa in Markham and Siassi Island in Tewae-Siassi.
“Why are they selecting Ongawafa in Markham when it is along the main highway and has a number of Digicel towers already,” Angonde asked.
“Siassi is a small island and already has one tower which is sufficient.
“Why can’t they build a tower in Burum-Kuat?”
He said they walked for about six to seven hours to Hube LLG, in Pindiu government station, where the nearest Digicel tower was located just to make a phone call.
“Because of steep valleys and big mountains where we are, you cannot get clear reception there,” Angonde said.
Angonde said the lack of communications infrastructure was one of the primary reasons they had been cut off many government services.
“We cannot call the police or health workers when there is a problem or disaster. They are based in Mindik station, which is about half a day’s walk from where we are,” Angonde said.