Thursday, January 27, 2011

City-based landowners converge on prime minister's office



MORE than 200 frustrated landowners from the liquefied natural gas project areas in Southern Highlands yesterday marched to the prime minister’s Morauta Haus office to petition the government over their outstanding claims, The National reports.

The claims were related to outstanding LNG business development grants, memorandum of agreement funds and ministerial commitments.

The petition also touched on business spin-off benefits, environmental issues, equities, social mapping and land demarcation and relocation issues.

Earlier, the petitioners had gathered at the Unagi oval at Gordon, hoping that someone would turn up to receive their list of demands.

At Morauta Haus, they had hoped to meet with chief secretary to government Manasupe Zurenuoc.

However, Zurenuoc’s executive officer Kelly Kalit, executive director policy and coordination Avei Puka and executive corporate director Michael Nunulrea met the landowners and advised them that the chief secretary was not available and would meet with them tomorrow.

Meanwhile, chief landowner Philip Undialu said from Hides, through a text mobile phone message, that Hides 4 would remain shut for 11 days while petitions from the Wita clans of Hides PDL1 and Kobalu camp were addressed.

He warned that a negative feedback would mean an end to the project.

Reports from Tari said several other landowner groups were meeting at the Ambua Lodge.

No details were available.

Cabinet met yesterday to discuss the LNG landowners’ issue.

A group of Koiari landowners in Central also joined the LNG landowners, petitioning the government to pay them for the use of their water for hydro electricity and general consumption in NCD.

They said, for 60 years, they had waited patiently.

The Koiari landowners would also present their petition to Zurenuoc tomorrow.



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