By ELIZABETH VUVU
THE relocation exercise of Nonga Base hospital in East New Britain initially proposed to be moved to Kuraiba plantation has been withdrawn with Putput plantation now selected as the new appropriate site.
The provincial executive council (PEC) endorsed early this week to liaise for immediate acquisition of Putput plantation for the allocation of the 20.6ha of land for the new hospital.
Chairman for health, Samuel Billy said the provincial government and Rabaul archdiocese were currently engaged in negotiation for the acquisition of Putput.
The initial decision to purchase Kuraiba plantation near Vunadidir in Gazelle district followed a decision by PEC in 2001 to relocate the hospital away from the volcano disaster area in Rabaul.
However, the provincial administration through the relocation task force, division of lands and health facilitated a number of meetings with the customary landowners of Kuraiba with a very slow progress as a result of inter-conflict among sub-clans and extended family members of the title holders.
This internal conflict subsequently delayed the progress of the relocation until 2008, the relocation task force was reactivated in another policy submission to PEC, which re-opened up fresh negotiations with landowners and title holders.
Landowners had initially put the price tag of K150 million for Kuraiba which was later negotiated by the provincial administration for the price of K1.5 million.