Continuous disruptions of the Highlands Highway from both man-made and natural causes have caused havoc for business houses operating in the five Highlands provinces over the last two decades.
The economy of the country depends a lot on the Highlands region where you find enormous deposits of mineral resources.
Likewise, the establishment of plantations have also increased over the last 10 years.
The modern sophisticated machines used in these mills, refineries and mines are entirely dependent on fuel that needs weekly supplies.
If the current trend of the highway persists, there will be a drastic drop in the productivity levels in all sectors and, thus, the country’s income generation will inevitably dwindle.
Without a second thought, the government had opted to spend K120 million to purchase the Falcon jet to serve our egoistic, power-hungry politicians and their cronies while the only national highway that links the main sea port with the resource-rich provinces has been neglected.
As a result, it is affecting the lives of more than 1.5 million people, not to mention the slow progress of the LNG project.
As I see it, there is an urgent need to upgrade and establish a ring road network using the existing feeder roads that connect the Highlands region.
This ring road can be used when there are problems encountered along the Highlands Highway.
Therefore, it is important and urgent to maintain and upgrade the following feeder roads:
* Unggai-Bena to Chuave through Nambaiyufa (bypassing Daulo and Watabung);
* Nondugulg to Hagen through Banz and Dei council;
* Tambul to Mendi through Upper Mendi;
* Kandep to Margarima;
* Mendi to Kandep through Lai Valley; and
* Tambul to Ialibu via Piambil and Tukupangi.
These roads are another option to enable the constant flow of goods and services into the Highlands region and also to avoid fatal accidents that occur on certain parts of the highway.
These roads were diligently engineered, constructed and used during the colonial era as first national highway.
It is imperative that the government revive these roads as substitute routes.