Time to plan the towns properly

National, Normal


THERE is no proper policy to guide urban developments, National Urbanisation director Maz Kep said on Monday.
Mr Kep highlighted this at a one-day Highlands regional National Urbanisation Policy consultative workshop in Goroka.
He said for the past 35 years there had not been a proper policy guide.
Mr Kep  said in 2003, the National Executive Council approved the setting up of a ministerial urbanisation committee which led to the creation of the office of urbanisation in 2005.
“We were given the approval to devise draft policy on urbanisation and establish pilot projects, basically to contain the escalating urban growth,” he said.
Mr Kep said much of the problems were caused by urban drifters seeking freedom from village problems.
“We want to complete the urbanisation policy before December and table it for the Government to launch it next February,” he said.
Mr Kep thanked town mayors, managers, district administrators and senior public servants from the five Highlands provinces who attended the workshop.
He said what they contributed to the management team  would form the basis of the policy.
Mr Kep said the aim of the regional workshops was to make stakeholders aware of the pending policy and seek inputs from them.
He said urban centres were growing rapidly at the expense of basic services like water, power, sewerage and sanitation, education and health care.
“Therefore, the office of urbanisation was set up and pilot projects had been launched in the country,” Mr Kep said.
The pilot projects are Taurama (NCD), Faniufa (EHP), Minj (WHP), Tari (SHP) and Chuave (Simbu).
Sam Kaima of the Minj urbanisation project said services and facilities were going from bad to worse in the districts.
He praised the good efforts of the urbanisation office, saying it would help to revive the ailing services.
Jacob Andaija from Tari urbanisation project called on the urbanisation office to speed up the Tari programme because the town had to be planned properly and quickly in light of the LNG project impacts.