By MALUM NALU
Daru will no longer be the “forgotten cousin” of Western province as a number of multi-million kina projects begin on the island town, says PNG Sustainable Development Program CEO David Sode.
These projects – which promise to transform the local economy - include the US$300 million (K622 million) Daru Port for international ships, K12 million wharf for local ships, K36 million airport redevelopment, and K52 million water project.
|Daru Airport terminal. The airport is being redeveloped under K36 million funding from the PNGSDP.-Picture by DAVID WILLIAMS|
A multi-million kina barramundi hatchery is already in place in Daru to replenish the fast-diminishing popular meat fish.
Sode revealed PNGSDP’s ambitious plans for Daru yesterday (Wednesday) after signing an agreement with Water PNG managing director Patrick Amini for the water project to begin.
Work on the port will commence as soon as the domestic wharf is completed by the end of this year.
Airport redevelopment is just about complete, while work on the water project – which will take 12 months to finish – is to start immediately after yesterday’s agreement signing with Water PNG.
Sode told The National that the Daru Port project, especially, had the potential to transform the forgotten island town, a reference to it being allowed to deteriorate, with the provincial capital moved north to Kiunga.
“They (Daru) will no longer be the ‘forgotten cousin’,” he said.
“They will be the ‘most-remembered’ cousin.”
Sode said the scale of the Daru Port project would be phenomenal.
“It’s a massive thing,” he said.
“This new port will be a massive leap for the people of Daru.”
“It’s going to be unbelievable.
“If we succeed, it’s going to be a game change for the Australian front, Indonesian front, and PNG.
“It’s been a lot of hard work for some of us.”
PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNGPCL) and PNGSDP embarked on a project funding partnership to restore normal operations at Daru Port last year.
The funding provided by PNGSDP is at the cost of K10 million for construction work and K360, 000 for the project management feeds under a separate agreement.
The trestle and the wharf head were originally built in 1964 but had not been in operation since 2008 due to severe deterioration to the trestle structure.
The Daru Airport development is a private-public partnership between National Airports Corporation and the PNGSDP.
Sode said work on the airport, which began in the middle of last year, could have been finished earlier but for the fact that rocks had to be sourced from Port Moresby.
“The contract was issued last May,” he said.
“Airport development should be finished by the end of this month.”
Under the water agreement signed yesterday, PNGSDP will provide funding of K52 million to improve water and sewerage systems while Water PNG, which owns the systems, will provide the technical support for the project.
The project is estimated to cost about K20 million and will take 12 months to complete from signing of the agreement.