Failure to produce and implement a full Commission ofInquiry recommendation overthe controversial Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABe’s) is causing distress for innocent landowning communities in rural areas.
The people of West Pomio inthe East New Beitain Province, are one among those facingthe plight of losingtheir land and suffering ill treatment totheir forests by foreign developers under SABe agreements.
Over fifteen communities inthe areas have signed a petition to be presented tothe provincial and national government asking thattheir land under this lease be given back tothem.
Their growing concern stems fromthe prolonged and failed Commission ofInquiry into this issue since its commencement three years ago, aimed to addressthe fraudulent processes involved.
They said intheir petition that persons representingthem in enteringthe agreement have not properly consultedthem ofthe 99 year leases.
Due tothe remoteness and lack of respect bythe developers andthe impact of logging operation felt bythem and ontheir environmentois hardly brought to light.
They said sincethese developers came in,there is hardly any infrastructure development and thatthe developers are only here to rip ofPNG’s pristine forest leavingthe land barren.
They are digging intotheir own pockets to pay for legal action fees over this plight.
ThPNG Eco-Forestry Forum, when presented a copy ofthe petition expressed concerns over this plight andthe excessive legal costs thatthese innocent villagers are sacrificing fromtheir own pockets.
The Forum as a Forest advocate organization togther with its members, in support ofthe call bythe affected communities, are calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to nullify all fraudulent SABes and for land to be given back tothe rightful customary landowners.
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