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Feature story - Paiela/Hewa - Lack of Development (exclusive discovery)

 Photo captions

01.    Yambale bridge that was collapsed making impossible for vehicles to access to other side of Paiela and Hewa station respectively

02.    Deteriorating classroom at Paiela Station

03.    Students learning in a bush material house

04.    These two kids crossing the Lagaip river footbridge

05.    Students going to school with new logs to build their new aging classroom

06.    Paiela/Hewa LLG president Pera Mopa (left) in front of the traditional dancers

07.    This woman decorated her body with mud to show that she wants basic services to be delivered while receiving her donation from the LLG President

08.    Traditional dancers geared up for the 39th independence celebrations

09.      People in traditional attires listening attentively during the launch of the LLG five year development plan 

 

By SAMSON KENDEMAN

PAPUA New Guinea recently celebrated its 39th years independence anniversary, however in many part of districts and LLGs in the country there is still lack of development which is a major concern.

Poor prudent management of public funds and lack of strategic development plans for districts, LLGs and provinces resulted in no tangible development.

Other underlying impediments is that deliberate diverting of public funds, gross misapplication of administrative guidelines, financial instructions, public finance management (Act) and other associated laws governing the usage of the public funds.

Although the successive governments have allocated billions of kina through development grants down to the districts and LLGs where the bulk of the population lives nothing to show for on the ground.

The O’Neill-Deon government in this term of parliament had allocated more than K3 billion development grants through services improvement programs (PSIP/DSIP and LLGSIP) to rehabilitate and building impact projects to improve the livelihood of the people.

Paiela/Hewa in the Porgera district, Enga Province is of no exception. It is one of the LLG in Lagaip/Porgera electorate situated north-eastern end of the Porgera station, the host of world class Porgera Gold mine.

The Paiela/Hewa LLG is currently in limbo and sorry stage. There are many people in this LLG but basic government services and other social services do not exist. For instance, more than 6,000 people of Hewa far north of Kolombi station travel one week (7 days) under misty condition to access for better services in Porgera station.

It shares border with neighbouring Hela, East and West Sepik provinces is facing a real time challenges in poor service delivery unlike the Porgera Rural and Porgera Urban.

Basic government services such as health, education, law & justice, tourism, agriculture and others were not being provided in this LLG because of no road network.

Health and education services are of major concern, there is hardly government services and people are still living in the stone age. There have been some basic government services in the past during the time of Luluwais and Toltuls administration. These services have now ceased to exist and some have deteriorated and terrible conditions.

Current generations use to tell themselves there were ghost government services existed before and now all disappeared and wonder how soon and when will one time they ride on a vehicle right into their villages.

Communities have raised concerns that there is no road connection and people would walk whole week to come to Paiela station and then to Porgera for better services.

There are no single government services at all like aid posts, health centres, rural police and elementary schools in Hewa and people have suffered silently.

“We have a very potential environment for agriculture and livestock where our main sources of income would be generated, however due to transport difficulties faced in the LLG we produce for self-consumption,” the disgruntled communities have stressed.

Notable major contributing factor to this problem is the road infrastructure, no vehicle is trespassing the Yambale River bridge which was collapsed away by floods from the river. The bridge was built by the former Lagaip/Porgera MP Anthon Pakena and accessible during those decades.

Apart from road infrastructure, escalating law & order including tribal fights claimed many lives, high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, infected with curable diseases, high rate of infant mortality, pregnant mothers die as a result of no proper counselling and clinic from midwifery, illiteracy is also rife and list goes on. 

Pragmatically, the main source of income for the people of Hewa is through alluvial mining at Mt Kare, Arabica coffee also grown there but no roads to transport coffee bags and is being rotten away. Apart from coffee, Paiela/Hewa is characterized by high intensity and all kinds of crops are grown. This LLG can produce to supply the entire Porgera and the rest of Enga.

Hewa people are living close to Sepik and have their own cultures and languages, there is no road network to link these disadvantage people with Paiela. The only foot bridge that they used to cross the river Lagaip, has washed away and people find it very difficult to cross over.

There is unrecorded number of people including mothers and children were reportedly carried away and drown by the mighty Lagaip River, the headwaters of Sepik River.

As this LLG is densely populated, all existing schools were closed due to no teachers and teaching materials, however the demand for education service is high. There are no health staffs, infrastructure, zero level of medical supplies (drugs &equipments) and other facilities.

On the 16th of September 2014 marked the beginning of a new era when it’s launched the first ever Paiela/Hewa LLG development plan 2014- 2018 for effective and efficient delivery of basic government goods and services that will transform the lives of the people.

The plan (2014 – 2018) is a holistic yardstick capturing the development issues faced by the people of Paiela/Hewa LLG which coincided with the 39th years independence celebration.

People shed tears during the launch and could not hide their emotion as they plea for government services, because they have been silently suffering with no assistance from the successive governments.

“Successive governments have miserably failed to deliver much needed services to Paiela/Hewa LLG and this is a sad scenario for more than 20,000 people who have missed basic services for too long,” Paiela/Hewa LLG President Pera Mopa said. 

However, having the new development plan for the Paiela-Hewa LLG it will now give strategic direction to the LLG and its stakeholders to collectively address some of the prevalent social conditions affecting the lives of the ordinary people.

Mopa said the plan is the first of its kind and it’s a milestone for development that will bring forward changes to the people in this area.

“Paiela/Hewa is the most disadvantages LLG in the district and the province as well for poor government service delivery. These people have been deprived their rights for government services for so long and are still in darkness to date,” he told the huge crowd gathered at Kolombia government station to witness the launching.

He said with the five year development plan, many government services will be delivered through the O’Neill –Deon government’s vision of service delivery at wards level through direct funding from LLGSIP.

The plan was drawn from much consultation, with the people and ward councillors from LLG, the district and the provincial administration.

He said the plan covers all areas and sectors by which the LLGSIP funds will be allocated in its budget process, however the plan does not set out a strategy for improving the lives of the people immediately, but sets and lays the foundation for creating a better future.

Communities expressed concerned that Paiela/Hewa has potential in socio-economic and infrastructural development but yet no tangible development emerged over the years though the giant Porgera Gold mine is located in the same district.

The plan was therefore guided and in aligned with PNG Vision 2015, PNGSDP 2010- 2030, MTDP 2009- 2015, Enga Provincial Growth and Development Plan 2011- 2015 and other key sector provincial and district plans and strategies.

The launching and independence was celebrated with style and colours with the presentation of K50, 000 committed by Laiagam/Porgera MP Nixon Mangape. Other presentations were made by Porgera Landowner Association Mark Tony committed K10, 000, Ipili Porgera Investment K10, 000, Paiela/Hewa LLG President K5, 000.

Previously there were no five year development plan for the LLG and no such celebrations for the country’s independence ever staged.

The writer is the public relations & media advisor with the Department of Implementation & Rural Development, send comments to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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