By ALMANZO MATBOB DWU journalism student
GAMBLING, prostitution and alcohol consumption are unhealthy social activities that are on the rise in the Ramu nickel mine region, according to a report presented to Madang provincial administrator Joseph Dorpar.
The report blamed the influx of people into the Kumbukari special mining lease areas for the increase in unhealthy social activities.
The report was tabled after a recent census survey conducted by the provincial mines office under provincial director John Bivi.
“There is an increase in social activities at the mine site such as gambling, prostitution and drinking,” Mr Bivi said in the report.
The brief also contained a planned eviction of illegal settlers in the area to be carried out in a few weeks time by the department with the help of the police.
The report also stated that original landowners were facing a lot of problems with settlers, particularly those from the Highlands region, resulting in confrontations.
The report contained interviews with individuals who were dissatisfied and shared their grievances about the operations of the Ramu nickel company in the area.
According to the report, a concerned villager from Gatzai said the Gagaiyo River, which villagers used for cooking and washing, was being polluted.
The villager claimed that the natural beauty and the river sources had been damaged by pollution.
He appealed for a water purity test to be conducted quickly to confirm the concerns of the people.
Meanwhile, the Ramu nickel management denied knowledge of gambling, prostitution, drinking and other illicit activities in the area as mentioned in the report.
They said as a note under the census conducted at Dengekevi village, it was briefly mentioned that “gambling” was a daily occurrence but it did not mention whether it was a social problem.