Pundari urges locals meet to end disputes

Lae News, Normal

The National, Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MINING Minister and Kompiam-Ambum MP John Pundari told the parties in the Watut River impacted issue in Morobe, to solve their disputes in a roundtable assemblage.
Pundari had put it straight to the Watut River impacted communities and the developers on Hidden Valley Gold mining, Morobe Mining Joint Ventures (MMJV), at Bangulum village in Mumeng LLG, Bulolo district, on Monday that they cannot solve problems by throwing words at each other.
Pundari had travelled to Bulolo district at the invitation of Bulolo MP Sam Basil to launch the operation of a new bulldozer, purchased by the joint districts planning and budget priorities committee for the maintenance of the Middle Watut road, and also to address the ongoing feud between the affected Watut river communities and MMJV over the Watut River issue.
“Let us sit down together and discuss these issues.
“If anyone has done anything and if so, how far have they gone and if not, what can we do, to curb the situation?” Pundari asked.
He said he would arrange for a conference to be held in Port Moresby next week for all stakeholders to discuss and find solutions once and for all.
He asked Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) interim president, Reuben Miti, to select a team to travel to Port Moresby.
Miti decided for four, including himself, but Pundari added another six to bring the numbers to 10.
Pundari will meet the costs of round trip air tickets for the 10 and accommodation in Port Moresby.
He said other parties to be involved in the discussions would be MMJV, Mineral Resources Authority, Department of Environment and Conservation and his department.
He also said, even though Basil was not in the government, he went to launch the bulldozer because he was satisfied and pleased that the money given by the government to Bulolo had been put to good use to meet the real needs of the people.
The bulldozer will be used in the Middle Watut Road which had deteriorated over a period of 15 years.
The villages connected by the road include Sambio, Galawo, Taiyek, Kapin One, Kapin Two, Dambi, Piu and Dangar in the Mumeng LLG.
MMJV, which had hired the Iroquois helicopter from Hevilift to fly Pundari and his team yesterday had also pitched in K30,000 to help with fuel and lubricants for the bulldozer.