The National, Wednesday July 24th, 2013
By BENNY GETENG
THE Defence Force plans to build a base for its engineering battalion in West New Britain.
A six-man team led by PNGDF facilities engineer Major Andy Napi and defence first assistant secretary for capabilities and force development, Norman Donigi, was in the province last week to find land for the base.
The base will cater for all engineering capabilities, naval surveillance and communications setups including landing pads that would assist programmes specified under this project.
The base will be the main delivery base to the New Guinea Islands region and will hold a full company from the Lae-based Igam Engineering Battalion.
WNB Governor Sasindra Muthuvel said WNB welcomed the move by the defence force and would see that the engineering base becomes an available government asset to be used by the provincial governments in the NGI region.
Muthuvel said the defence force’s presence in the province would support development programmes.
“Natural disasters have been part of WNB for many years with rough seas, heavy rain and winds, roads into the town cut off by washed away bridges, landslides, over flowing drains and flooded roads,” he said.
The battalion will be involved in infrastructural development and response to natural disasters and emergencies.
Naval surveillance will cover the seas towards Milne Bay and North Solomons and the Bismarck Sea to the north of the Island to protect the country’s marine resources.