Rush for amnesty

National, Normal

The National

CUSTOMERS are rushing into PNG Waterboard offices in Lae and Mt Hagen to utilise the threemonth amnesty period to get special payment contracts and get legally connected.
This was recently revealed by PNGWB team leaders of integrated market clean-up (IMCU) campaign in both centres who acknowledged the support of consumers and confirmed increases in daily customer numbers because of the threemonth amnesty period.
The purposes of IMCU are to educate the public on the importance of water, the requirement to pay their bills and discourage water theft by not making illegal connections.
The amnesty period started last month and ends at the end of next month.
In November, PNGWB, with police and community assistance, will penalise and charge those still using water illegally or who have not agreed on a special payment agreement.
Lae team leader Pius Palma said: “There are more customers coming in to enquire about the amnesty period and even asking to sign special payment agreements.
“Last month, we collected more than K300,000 compared to previous month.”
The Lae team has so far covered seven zones (i.e. zones: 1, 3, 4, 5, 14, 15 and 28). Due to bad weather, zone 28, which covers the Tent City and Bumayong areas, was delayed by two days and took five instead of the planned three days.
 It has now moved to the miles areas.
Last week, interactive plays were staged at Town and Eriku to spread the awareness message and encourage people to come into the PNGWB office before the end of amnesty.
Physical inspections conducted on each property resulted in a total of 51 illegal connections being identified and plugged off on the spot in zone 28 and 10 in zones four and five covering Lae Technical College, the Eriku commercial area and part of Cassowary Road.
Project manager Leo Kre revealed that a total of 5,000 letters would be going out to companies this week, giving them a 14-day notice for payment of arrears over 90 days.
Failure to pay up these bills will see the PNGWB engage police or undertake legal proceedings to recoup the arrears.
The PNGWB is revamping its service and aims to improve service to meet rising demand in the country but, it needs money to do this.
Thus, it is undertaking the IMCU to recoup money that can be used to upgrade the system and improve the provision of safe and quality water and sanitation services to Papua New Guineans’.
Meanwhile, PNGWB appealed to residents of Lae city to be conscious of their hygiene and to ensure they wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating.
Assuring that its water is produced to the highest quality meeting World Health Organisation standard and that of the National Health Department, PNGWB also appealed to people to ensure containers they used to fill water is clean.