Resolve land issues first: Landowners

National, Normal


LANDOWNERS of the Taurama valley in NCD, where a proposed urban housing scheme will stand, have warned that no work will proceed unless unresolved land matters are dealt with.
During a protest on Tuesday, the landowners said they were not consulted by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) and city authorities on all matters relating to the project.
Last Friday, Moresby South MP and Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu and Housing Minister Andrew Kumbakor unveiled the urban housing project billboard.
However, Badiri Vamaga landowner and Motu-Koita assembly member Iava Geita told The National that many land claims around the city remained outstanding, and the urban housing project site was one of them.
He said the others, which were pending in court, included the Boroko Taruha land–all sports recreational grounds in NCD–Angau Drive residential land, Kaugere, Air Niugini village and Korobosea among others.
Mr Geita said Government authorities had not bothered to sign any understanding or agreements with the landowners, effectively putting in doubt any new land development projects.
Two years ago when landowners from Kira Kira village met with Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare over unresolved land matters within NCD, the Prime Minister, in a letter on March 31, 2008, directed his deputy and Lands and Physical Planning Minister Sir Puka Temu to immediately look into the matter.
Sir Michael said in his letter: “It appears that . . . developments undertaken by the NHC and the city authorities over the years might have encroached on customary land that was not properly procured by the Government.
“The situation is, to say the least, unfair and must be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the landowners.”
Sir Michael also warned that “the Government risks jeopardising the new urban housing development project at Taurama if we do not properly resolve the other outstanding land claims by the landowners”.