The University of Papua New Guinea Jimi Students Association President Charlie Philip calls for the people of Babilnge tribe (Las Wari community) of North Waghi District in the Jiwaka Province to have heart for the people of Jimi by not hindering the commuters of Jimi having access to road service.
“I appeal to the people of Babilnge tribe to let the road to be free and accessible for our Jimi people and not imposing unnecessary fees on their way to Banz and back to Jimi.” Mr Philip told EMTV Online.
Charlie went to media following a trend of events at Kaunang Bridge affecting his Jimi people’s daily businesses as this is the only route they use to access goods and services in Banz, Minj, Mt Hagen or Kundiawa towns.
The young man said those at Kaunang Bridge charge K20 as labour rate for each peanut and coffee bags transported across the river and each commuter is charged when passing through.
“At the end of the day, we the Jimi people feel pain of cumulative transportation costs producing local produce for local market at Banz contributing to economic development of our Province.” Charlie said. “Adding to that we have, High schools and Primary schools, Health centres and aid post, the public servants in Jimi District who are moving around to provide services and other business activities such as PMV.”
Charlie said the recent Mobol and Kaunang flood is a natural disaster and that people cannot blame anyone for the disasters, hence washed away bridge.
The concern was raised to this news room after Jimi people have been badly treated while passing through the washed away bridge along the Jimi road since disaster. According to Charlie, this has been ongoing and is seen inhuman and without respect.
“We the students of Jimi and Jiwaka attending the University of Papua New Guinea had disaster appeal fundraising for the recent Mobol appeal at the UPNG main campus in partnership with Wara Mobol Appeal Committees at the Jack Pidick Park in Port Moresby and had shown our compassionate heart for our people who were affected by the recent catastrophic flood and so our people from Jimi should be respected and treated equally.”
The Student leader calls for the help of community leaders of Babilnge tribe, professionals and disaster committees to advise the Kaunang communities to quit such actions and allow people to travel freely.
Additionally, Mr Philip urges people to leave any claims that will be made over the damages of properties and bridge to the hands of responsible authorities through disaster office and agencies concerned.
The Jimi students at UPNG also urge mandated leaders, police and other law enforcement agencies in Jiwaka to deal with this issue so Jimi people can travel freely without fear and intimidation.