Road opens after one week

Highlands, Normal


THE Kumpite landslip at Towan village on the Nipa-Margarima section of the Highlands Highway in Southern Highlands province was cleared on Monday afternoon.
Soon after 2pm, vehicles that were stranded on either side of the road for the past seven days began to move as normal traffic into Tari and Hela region was finally restored.
Since the landslip occurred in the early hours of last Monday, traffic flow was severely affected while locals seized the opportunity to press for K600,000 in compensation from the  Government for the destruction caused by the landslip before any clearance was allowed.
The locals also built a small by-pass at the side of the landslip and demanded money from light vehicles that passed through in the past seven days.
Last Wednesday, Governor Anderson Agiru directed the provincial administration to release K120,000 as urgent funding to re-open the highway.
Under heavy police presence, a contractor moved to the site yesterday and cleared the blockage.
Provincial police commanders Supt Jimmy Onopia warned the locals not to use illegal means to make money like blocking roads and charging hefty fees from passing motorists.
Supt Onopia said the manner in which locals force commuters to pay money before crossing the road created a bad impression for the province.
The contractor took an hour to clear the road.
A senior provincial government officer said from Mendi said the contractor was paid K100,000 to clear the road while the locals were paid K20,000 for their labour.