By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE first stage of the K83 million state-of-the-art highlands metropolitan jail in Baisu, Western Highlands, was launched last Friday by Correctional Service Minister Tony Aimo and Western Highlands Governor Tom Olga, The National reports.
Aimo said the project came in seven stages and it would take seven years to complete.
He said that when completed, Baisu would be the first in the South Pacific to have such an infrastructure.
Aimo told a big crowd including Olga, Correction Services Commissioner Richard Sikani, CS officers and the public that the project was a first of its kind funded by Government and AusAID, under its law and justice sector programme.
He said the first stage of the development cost K10 million and the contract was awarded to Simple Blue Collar construction and would take 20-months to build.
He said the project was expected to be completed by next October.
He said the project was aligned with the Vision 2050 under pillar No. 3 and 4, which states institutional development, service delivery, security and international relations.
Aimo said Baisu jail was one of the four regional jails and was a major correctional institution in the highlands region and received prisoners from the five highlands provinces, Morobe and Madang.
He said Baisu was, therefore, earmarked under the correctional service “10-15 years reconstruction plan,” to replace the colonial infrastructure built in 1963.
He said most of the buildings in Baisu were nearly 50-years old and due to funding constraints, they did not maintain them throughout the successive years.
Aimo said the project would bring spin-off benefits to the people living near the jail and also change the image of the province.
He appealed to the community leaders to take control of the people, respect the development, contractors and other service providers who would develop the project.
Aimo requested Olga and his provincial executive council to improve the road from Bak to Baisu, water supply and communication at Baisu jail.
Olga thanked Aimo and the Government on behalf of the 550,000 people for the mega projects and other impact projects in his province.
Olga committed K3 million for the sealing of the Bak-Baisu road.
He also told the Aimo that Baisu jail was included in the master plan of Mt Hagen redevelopment, which was launched last year by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.
Olga said Sir Michael allocated K20 million for the city redevelopment and this would be rolled out this year.
He said the water supply in Baisu jail was also included in the master plan.
Olga said under the plan they would have reservoir tanks at Mt Ambra so that the jail would receive a consistent supply of fresh water.
When the project is completed, Baisu would accommodate up 1,300 prisoners at any one time, 80 self-contained units for the married officers, 40 self-contained units for the single officers and 90 houses for the senior officers.