Anger in PNG at Government plans for major new road
A rally is planned in Port Moresby this weekend to fight the PNG Government's plans to build a major new road.
There are plans to stage a rally in Port Moresby this weekend to fight the Papua New Guinea Government's plans to build a major road link through the southern provinces into the Highlands.
The southern region is known as Papua as opposed to New Guinea to the north of the Owen Stanley Ranges.
Our correspondent Todagia Kelola told Don Wiseman there is concern about the impact the road will have on communities along the route.
TODAGIA KELOLA: The governor for Central province and a former politician who was really vocal during and before independence on the Papua Besena movement Dame Josephina Abaijah. They are concerned that with the construction of the trans-island highway from Port Moresby connecting the Islands region and the Momase region will not benefit the Papua region people in that it will just bring more problems for them.
DON WISEMAN: She's suggesting as well, isn't she, that what it will do is just encourage people to move to the big city.
TK: That's basically that, and also with the experiences of what's happening today, especially on land grabbing.
DW: They're not against the road per se, it's the need to have a few more laws in place to ensure that there's a level playing field I suppose.
TK: You see this argument, it just brings to the surface of a deep-rooted dislike of numerically superior outsiders imposing their 'we know it all' attitude on their land. That's basically what the governor is trying to prevent. It just puts the locals and makes them just be spectators in their own land. You see Don, the thing is that some people in the industries think and are business-oriented, some are just easy going and basically I think the landowners here are really just spectators in that they sell their land and then they just watch development by other people.
DW: On Saturday there's going to be a parade or a protest of sorts where Dame Joesphine Abaijah and various others are going to put their case for the road not to go ahead. What sort of support are they likely to get?
TK: I'm really doubtful as to whether many Papuans will attend it, except maybe for the Central Province people, there might be numbers. You see, the Papuan region is comprised of the Western Province, the Gulf Province, the Central Province, the Oro Province and Milne Bay Province -- these are all the Papua side. I don't think it will be a very big affair except for maybe the Central Province people who are concerned.
DW: There they're just going to try and raise awareness about these issues?
TK: Yes, they will try and raise awareness but as I've stated they are basically trying to argue that 'look, if we allow more outsiders to come in we'll be marginalised and we'll just be spectators.'
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