Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sir Arnold declares war on squatter settlements

MADANG Governor Sir Arnold Amet has declared war on illegal settlers in his province, The National reports.

Speaking to provincial leaders who met him on his return home on Monday, after his Supreme Court victory in Port Moresby, the governor said they must now pursue a zero-tolerance policy on squatters and illegal settlements.

He said Madang was set to be the centre of economic boom and there would be an influx of people looking for job opportunities in the province.

Sir Arnold said illegal settlements were already a problem in boom centres in other parts of the country and Madang should learn from their experiences, act now and be prepared.

“We must apply zero tolerance on squatter settlements. If you do not take action now, you will be responsible for your actions later.”

Making specific reference to illegal settlements in Madang town, he said that they would be removed over a six-year period. 

“These people should be settled on land provided by the state or on land provided by villagers through properly signed agreements between the two parties.

“There should be no illegal settlements anywhere in the province,” he said, reiterating that Madang was set to enjoy an economic boom within the next few years.

He noted that there were illegal settlements already at the Ramu NiCo special mining lease areas at Kurumbukari and at the processing site at Basamuk Bay.

“These people must be removed and their settlements dismantled,” Sir Arnold told the leaders, adding that they must take a tough stand on this.

Some of the major projects in the pipeline, he noted and highlighted at the meeting, were:

v     The Ramu nickel project, barring construction of the deep sea tailings placement (DSTO) pipeline;

v     nMaringo gold project in the Bundi area, not far from the Ramu nickel mine site at Kurumbukari;

v     The regional Pacific Marine Park at Vidar;

v     Gas and oil exploration in the Ramu area;

v     Ramu block one forestry project;

v     Alternate route to the Highlands region via the Western Highlands to cater for the LNG project; and

v     Alternate sea port facilities for the LNG project at Vidar.

On the latter, Sir Arnold said the LNG developers were looking for alternate port facilities because the silting of Markham River made Lae port, the busiest in the country, unsuitable for their long-term requirements.

“There are major, major developments in the pipeline for Madang and the people must gear up for it,” he added.


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