O’Neill leads high level delegation to Mt Hagen

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 29th, 2013


PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill led a high-level delegation to Mt Hagen on Friday for the groundbreaking ceremony of a new K120 million Western Highlands provincial headquarters building.

O’Neill was given a red carpet welcome by community groups and school children at Kagamuga Airport and all the way into the city.

He was accompanied by New Ireland Governor Sir Julias Chan, former prime minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu, Sir John Kaputin, Cabinet ministers James Marape (Finance), Michael Malabag (Health), Tommy Tomscoll (Agriculture), Francis Awesa (Works), Rimbink Pato (Foreign Affairs) Benny Allan (Lands), William Duma (Petroleum and Energy), governors Powes Parkop (NCD), William Powi (Southern Highlands), Sir Michael Somare (East Sepik) and Western Highlands MPs.

Diplomats invited included the Indian High Commissioner, Philippines  Ambassador and United Kingdom High Commissioner.   

A huge crowd turned up to witness the groundbreaking ceremony of the new provincial headquarters building.

The old provincial headquarters building named after former premier Philip Kapal was burnt down in Oct, 2008.

An agreement was signed between Western Highlands Development Authority and developer Essar, an international company originally from India now working at Komo international airport, Hela.

Western Highlands Governor Paias Wingti said the city needed to make plans to accommodate the large number of people migrating to Mt Hagen.

“It’s not only happening in here or other parts of the country, but other countries as well,” he said.

He said proper planning was important for the city to provide basic services  such as water, electricity and road network to its increasing residents.

O’Neill said that the Government has allocated K60 million this year to start work on the new provincial headquarters building, with the other K60 millon to follow next year.

He said when completed, the new building would change the image of Mt Hagen.

Work on the building started the following day and would take two years to complete. He committed another K50 million for the city’s roads.