Villagers stop work at scrapper station

National, Normal


LANDOWNERS in Kikori, Gulf, have forced the contractor and French-owned company, Spiecapag Niugini Ltd, to stop construction work at the scrapper station at Omati.
Spiecapag had been contracted by Esso Highlands Ltd to carry out work on the PNG LNG gas pipeline from Hides in the Southern Highlands to Portion 152 near Port Moresby through Kikori.
Early last week, landowners at Kaiam, also in Kikori, burnt several CCJV vehicles and machineries because they were frustrated that their landowner umbrella company, Greenfield Resources Investment Ltd, was not awarded any sub-contracts.
They also attributed their frustrations to the government’s delay in releasing the business development grants for landowners to start spin-off businesses.
Gulf provincial police commander Snr Insp Reuben Giusu yesterday confirmed the incident.
He said police had been informed and had dispatched a mobile unit from Kopi to the area.
However, they could do little because the villagers had only blocked construction work and had not done any damages to properties which were all on traditional land.
Reports said the contractor, Esso Highlands and the landowners would meet today to discuss the matter.
Landowners also warned that the blockage would continue if their demands were not met.
The villagers had also questioned the establishment of Kikori Energy Resources, allegedly set up by employees of Esso Highlands, and its interests in the project.