Enga Provincial Assembly has put an indefinite blanket ban on the sale of betelnut in the province.
This is a preventative measure the Provincial Assembly has undertaken to safeguard its people from passing or contracting the Coronavirus, as well as other sicknesses such as oral cancer.
Enga Governor, Sir Peter Ipatas said, it is a tough decision to make, but is good for the health of his people.
The penalty for breaking this new provincial law includes K5,000 spot fine for individuals that are transporting and selling betel nut. Vehicles transporting betelnut into the province will pay a fine of K10,000.
This ensures a blanket ban on the sale of betelnut for an indefinite period to do away with betel nut.
The substitute for betelnut buyers and sellers who will be financially affected is a K1 million funding from Enga Provincial Government.
This money will be made available at the National Development Bank for locals to have access to buy agricultural products such as fertilizers to start farming. Governor Ipatas said EPG would continue to fund people who are taking agriculture seriously.
He urged the people of Enga to be thankful for having a market in place at Talum Surinki Agro Farm to sell their fresh produces.
Some locals have already agreed with the stimulus package the province will continue to offer to support agriculture in the province.
Meanwhile, in Western Highlands Province, a local aviation company based in Mt Hagen was caught smuggling tonnes of betelnut bags into the Province on Tuesday (April 14).
The betelnut bags were confiscated and later destroyed, after the National Airport Corporation notified police and the Provincial Covid-19 Taskforce Committee.
Provincial Police Commander, Chief Inspector, Jacob Kamiak said police are investigating the incident. The only person on board with the bags of betelnut was the Captain of the helicopter.
Police say the eighteen bags of betel nut were transported from Ramu in Madang Province.
The bags of betelnut if sold would have amounted to a whopping K60,000 during the SOE period.
PPC Jacob Kamiak, said the aviation company has breached the SOE order, and it is uncalled for such company to go that low.
The betelnut bags were confiscated and destroyed by NAC and police.
Mt Hagen police have also arrested and locked up people transporting betelnut up to Mt Hagen.
A stern warning was already issued by the Covid-19 committee to do all they can to prevent COVID-19 from entering the Province.
Yet, people are still not following SOE orders nor cooperating to fight this pandemic.
By Vasinatta Yama – EMTV News – Mt Hagen