By ZACHERY PER
RURAL transport infrastructure is vital for the smooth delivery of basic goods and services to 85% of the people.
Whilst applauding the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and PNG Government-funded road rehabilitation between Kamaliki and Bekuvia in the Unggai-Bena district, Eastern Highlands province, a regular road user highlighted the importance of maintaining rural transport network especially roads and bridges.
Akim Lumotopa, who comes from the area, said without good roads and bridges, education and health services would collapse, people would miss out on good education and die from curable diseases.
“The illiteracy rates and infant-maternal mortality rate would sky rocket as there would be no schools and health facilities in rural areas, no public servants want to trek the bushes, grass lands, mountains, cross rivers, plains, swamps and valleys in the name of service deliveries,” Mr Lumotopa said.
He called on the Highlands parliamentarians dishing out fleets of Toyota Landcruisers under the guise of services improvement programme (SIP) in respective districts.
“This is an incredible approach of MPs, how can these brand new vehicles reach schools, clinics and rural police station on the other side of the mountain range where several bridges linking them collapsed 10 years ago?,” he asked.
He claimed most of these vehicle bearing police and health department’s logo are being driven around by cronies of MPs and the electoral staff around most towns.
Mr Lumotopa commended ADB for providing the counterpart funding for their Kamaliki-Bekuvia road, a 4km stretch which is progressing well.
“We welcome this initiative undertaken by TSC Construction which is progressing well with constant supervision by the Works Department.
He further stressed that with good roads, the new fleets can make impact on the lives of the rural masses, for without good roads every good effort and initiatives would be wasted.