Maritmo village sits on the lower ridges of the Sepik plain. A section of a newly established road network will cut through the flatland, giving way to one of the biggest oil palm projects in the Momase region.
Since the road project began six months ago, however, it faced major hurdles.
Local workers, recruited by the provincial works department, say they have never been paid on time. The fuel, vital in keeping the machines up and running, was never deployed on time.
The workers say they have to wait more than a week before they receive their pay, or before the next ration of fuel arrives from Wewak town.
“Somebody in the provincial works department must be held accountable for this…” said one of the local contractors.
In fact, 1.3 million kina, the estimated labor and fuel costs, has been paid to the provincial works department.
Anger is mounting in the communities along the Sepik plain who want to see their roads completed on time.
“I'll bring this to the attention of the works minister, Francis Awesa… For a proper investigation to be carried out into the matter,” local MP Richard Maru said.
More than 100 hectares of land will be planted with oil palm with over 20, 000 job prospects expected once the project is completed.
The communities hope to see the development of roads and other services built in the area soon.
Although the project may not have started yet, the people in the area believe that a proper road network would mean effective delivery of services into their area.
That is yet to be seen.
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