Warangoi landowners give PNG Power 7 days ultimatum to respond to grievances

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By Edwin Fidelis – EMTV News

Warangoi landowners have issued an ultimatum to PNG Power Limited to honor their commitment or Warangoi Hydro will be shut down.

The landowner’s threat comes following outstanding recommendations that PNG Power failed to accomplish in the past 12 months.

The landowners have given PNG power until Thursday this week to respond.

On Thursday last week, angry landowners gathered at the Warangoi hydro intake area, locked the gates and demanded the work at the hydro be stopped as they wait to get a response from the PNG Power management.

The police were called in to provide order.

” PNG Power and the provincial administration must recognize us as traditional landowners of this area. That has never been done for 38 years”, said George Metsep, the Chairman of the Warangoi Hydro landowners association.

The Warangoi hydro landowner issue is an old one.

Following numerous meetings over the last 12 months, four recommendations where made.

The landowners agreed to allow PNG Power to carry out a major overhaul at the hydro.

The landowners asked for an equal participation for locals at the hydro during the overhaul.

The landowners also asked for a land document that indicates if weather the hydro is located on a state land or on customary land.

And most importantly, they asked for a Memorandum of Agreement that must include spin-off benefits.

While landowners have honored their commitment to allow rehabilitation work to continue, they say PNG Power has failed to honor theirs.

” Every hydro power plant in other parts of the country has a Memorandum of Agreement. Why is it that the Warangoi Hydro doesn’t have any?”, said Boniface Setavo, Chairman of the Qaqet Stewardship Council, a landowning entity that is representing the Baining Landowners in East New Britain province.

On Thursday this week, a meeting will convene in Kokopo where landowners will be seeking an explanation from PNG Power as to why they haven’t been honoring their commitments.

” As of the 8th of this month, the memorandum of agreement must be tabled and every one will sign it. There is no time and there is no room for more excuses”, said Bernard Kulap, a landowner representative.

The landowners have made a special call to the state enterprise minister, Sasindran Muthuvel, the PNG Power acting managing director, Carolyn Blacklock and her senior members to attend the meeting.

And failing to do will result to a complete shut down of the hydro.

Edwin Fidelis

is EMTV's correspondent based in Kokopo, East New Britain. He has been with EMTV for four years covering social issues, crime, politics, development and business stories for news and documentary programs. Edwin graduated from Divine Word University in 2013 with a Bachelor in Communication Arts and Journalism.

Edwin Fidelis