By JAMES APA GUMUNO
TWO sections of the road in Southern Highlands province have been blocked by landowners, preventing big trucks from transporting heavy machineries into the LNG projects sites.
On Nov 16, the only Kutubu-Moro access was blocked off by the Peripi Landowner Association to pressure the developer of the LNG project to seal the road between Mendi and Kutubu.
According to provincial police commander Supt Jimmy Onopia yesterday afternoon in Mendi, huge trees standing on the side of the road from Poroma Community School to Kunupulu road junction in Moro were chopped down to block the road, over a distance of about 17km of the road.
Supt Onopia said in other roadblock yesterday, villagers living along Walium junction and Kerene in the Imbonggu district blocked the road by chopping down trees grown on the sides of the road.
He said the fallen trees also destroyed power pylons and posts on the sides causing blackouts in Mendi.
Supt Onopia said the reason for the roadblock in Imbonggu was not known but it was believed that the villagers were frustrated after prolonged delay by the Works Department to pay the villagers on the crops and structural improvement removed on the sides of the road under the Highlands Highway Rehabilitation Programne.
He said police were deployed to the site yesterday morning providing security to the stranded passengers and trucks with loads heading into Mendi and Hela province, where preliminary works for the LNG project has started.
Supt Onopia said police personnel engaged in the Benefits Sharing Agreement in Hides Gas made two attempts to clear the Kutubu-Moro access road but were unsuccessful as landowners chopped down more trees.