Source: The National, Tuesday, March 5, 2013 
Story and picture by MALUM NALU

THE opening of PNG Forest Products’ (PNGFP) K100 million Upper Baiune hydro power project in Bulolo, Morobe, was tinged with emotion last Saturday.
It was a bittersweet occasion for the family of principal landowner Katu Vavini, who supported the company right from the project’s beginning in 2006 until his untimely death last Dec 21 aged 83.
His efforts, however, are not in vain as the project is now being looked upon as a blueprint for projects involving landowners in the country, speakers said during the power plant’s launch.
His widow Kasing and family members – all dressed in black – wept as the new power station was named Katu Vavini Power Station.
Kasing, widow of Katu Vavini, weeps as she touches the plaque of the power station named after her late husband.

Forests Minister Patrick Pruaitch and PNGFP managing director Tony Honey opened the new plant before a cheering crowd.
Honey acknowledged the contribution of the late Vavini, saying that the project would not have been possible had it not been for his support.
It was a classic example of landowners and private enterprise working hand-in-hand.
The late Vavini’s daughter Marilyn said her father supported the project right from the beginning and it was sad that he did not live to see its fruition.
“When dad was alive, he helped a lot,” she said.
“He worked closely with the company and was with the project right from the beginning.”
Katumani landowner secretary Yana Karimini said the late Vavini’s legacy would live on for many generations to come.
“The late Katu was the driving force behind this mighty hydro power project,” he said.
“He has proved to the people of Katumani who he is, but has not lived to see his vision completed.
“On behalf of the late Katu’s people, and the Katumani people, I thank PNG Forest Products for its great respect in naming the new power station after the late Katu Vavini, who will be remembered generation after generation.”
Karimini said the Katumani people did not want to be spectators on their own land and appealed to PNGFP to consider their participation in future projects.
“I would like to assure landowners that all project benefits will be deposited into the landowner benefits trust account and will be utilised solely for the purpose of providing long-lasting benefits,” he said.