Collapsed Bridges May Affect Oil Palm Production

by Quinton Alomp – EM TV, Port Moresby

Oil Palm production in West New Britain province may possibly be affected after two main bridges linking Kimbe to Bialla collapsed, late yesterday.

Bialla is now completely disconnected, and store goods and fuel are running low.

Governor, Sasindran Muthuvel, has appealed to National Government for immediate funding assistance to restore this vital link that will keep oil palm productions running smoothly.

The governor is hoping rain stops so temporary crossovers will be constructed.

The Kimbe to Bialla Highway served as the main lifeline for thousands of people, business houses and two oil palm companies, New Britain Oil palm and Argy plantations.

These two companies generate K800 Million revenue for the National Government annually. The production at these two plantations is expected to decline after the Tiaru and Ubule bridges were washed away yesterday night.

Business houses in Bialla are low with food and fuel as of this afternoon. It is believed the hydro power station is also affected by debris and rising water level.

Governor Muthuvel said the issue now becomes humanitarian as people’s food gardens and oil palms are underwater, and houses roofs were ripped off by strong winds.

The provincial government has set up a Westpac Bank Account for disaster relief assistance and is open to anyone to make donations. The details are: WNBPG Disaster & Emergency Trust Fund, Account # 6000 355 007.

Groups such as Rimbunan Hijau Foundation, Melamaju Limited, Covec PNG Ltd and the Indian Association in Port Moresby have already donated money to the Disaster account.

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