Wale calls on Government to Settle Landowner’s Grievances on Tina Project

Leader of Opposition Hon Mathew Wale calls on the government to immediately address landowners’ grievances on the Tina River Hydropower project.

Construction of the Tina Project Road underway| Photo SIBC TV

Mr. Wale says, the issue of land disputes occurring at the project site in the past weeks, hinders the development of the project.

He adds, the Tina hydro project is a national project that requires proper land acquisition.

I am seriously concern about that National project, especially land dealing around that project which eventually get to the land title stage. We already have a legal precedence of the San Jorge Nickle mine and Axiom. That should ring the bell on the government side of land dealings there.  I am afraid if the parties involved take it to court, the court might nullified it or strike off the land title,  putting the national project at risk.”

He says, landowners’ concerns are legitimate and the government needs to take a proper approach to address the issue.

“Some of these issues have been raised years ago, and now we reached the stage where the work on the project should be moving forward.”

“And of course, you don’t expect land owners to swallow their claims, there’s no such things like that! Justice requires their issues are properly taken into account.”

Mr. Wale added, “Landowners concerns are legitimate concerns and I call on the government to take a conciliatory approach to address the issue and allow the national project to go on smoothly. We all need the project.”

The Tina River Hydro Project at it’s feasibility stage. Photo credit: Business Advantage PNG.

Meanwhile, the Tina hydro Project office says, the land issues has been addressed through the Grievance mechanism within the project’s office.

Guadalcanal Premier Francis Sade earlier, calls on the Tina people not to disturb the progress of the project, but settle the matter once and for all.

The Commissioner of Lands, Allan McNeil confirmed that the Tina land was acquired through a compulsory land acquisition by his predecessor.

However, an elder from Malango Simon Pilosi claimed that the land was acquired through a gentleman’s way of land acquisition.

The government is yet to provide any comments on the issue.

by Charley Piringi

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