The Minister for National Planning, Richard Maru, was shocked to find the once thriving Aiome Station, district headquarters of Madang’s Middle Ramu District now void of any basic government services.
Together with the Minister for Defence, Solan Mirisim, both leaders were at Aiome yesterday to see the progress of the work being carried out on the Baiyer-Madang road link. They saw first-hand the urgent need for change in the area, starting with the vital road link that will open up the area for vital services and economic activity.
“I cannot believe that these people are living without any basic services. There is no government presence, everyone is operating out of Madang. And without a road link, it takes up to 10 hours to get to Madang to access services. This is shocking,” Minister Maru said.
PNG Defence Force Engineering Battalion Aiome/Simbai Detachment team said there is no communications network in the area because the existing tower was also vandalized. As a result, the officers have to rely on the PNGDF radio to communicate to the base. The airstrip is covered by savannah vegetation and the law and order in the area is handled by a lone Police officer.
The PNGDF team had to step in to address law and order issues in the area and also assist with health care matters. It brings to question the use of the millions of Kina allocated by the National Government under the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) each year.
District Administrator, Barnabas Mikikmaong, said it’s been 5 years since public servants left the station. The District Treasury Office had burnt down and the officers had been relocated to the Madang Provincial headquarters in town. Following that, the District Administration also relocated to Madang town because of difficulty in communicating with the officers in town.
Minister Maru is now adamant that the Baiyer-Madang road link be completed to address many of these issues with the absence of basic services.
Source: National Planning Media Release