Task force set to handle Manam-Bogia issue

National, Normal

THE National Executive Council has approved the establishment of the Manam task force committee to take charge and progress the resettlement programme.
In doing so, Cabinet also approved the immediate release of K5 million of a total K15 million previously approved for the programme.
Acting Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu said yesterday Cabinet was briefed on the current situation in Bogia and Manam Island in Madang province.
“The Manam task force will now manage the whole resettlement process including identifying and purchasing land, liaising with traditional landowners and identifying a site for permanent resettlement of the displaced islanders.
“The task force will be responsible for the development of the resettlement plans according to the procedures set by the United Nations and the Government.
“It will work in close consultation with the Madang provincial disaster committee, the National Disaster Centre and other relevant Government agencies,” Sir Puka said.
He said the need to re-look the current arrangement arose after disputes arose between landowners at Bogia where the care centres are located and the Manam islanders.
The task force will also look at providing assistance for the landowners for the hardships and experiences encountered, and for humanitarian aid to be provided.