BY LYNETTE KIL
The people of Kerowagi district in Chimbu Province will soon have access to a new airstrip after more than 70 years.
The last flight out of Kerowagi was in 1935 by an airplane run by the Lutheran Church.
Local MP and Vice Minister for Mining Bari Palma initiated the airstrip project as one of the major impact projects for the district.
“This project will become the major catalyst for the creation of a local based economy that will benefit the people in a big way.
“I’ve got bigger plans for the district. All I want is total cooperation from the landowners whose land will be affected by projects,” Mr Palma said.
“If we want more developments we need to free up land and allow contractors to mobilise their equipment and freely engage in the contracts awarded to them.” He said landownership issues have always remained a major hindrance to development.
The first phase of the 1.4km runway clearing has been completed last week and this week, the local contractor Kaiaworks Engineering Limited is into the second phase with gravelling and compacting.
Mr Palma said there are plans in place to open up the airstrip for both Simbu and neighboring Jiwaka provinces adding that would encourage business opportunities to thrive in the region.
“As part of my long term vision, I wish to open up Kerowagi as a central highlands economic hub by which the airstrip is seen as a focal point for all economic activities,” he said.
“There’s a MOU already in place with the Outback Aviation in Australia. The company will take Kerowaghi as its central area of business and further improvements will be done to the airstrip to make it reach the national standards to serve the people well.”
First Secretary David Dom and other support officers including Thomas Kela, Joseph Wamil and Kagl Kua said the project on the ground is within scope and well coordinated to meet the deadline requirements.
They said the people of Kerowaghi highly commended the MP for initiating such an impact project that will be of benefit to the general populace.
Meanwhile, the Kundiawa airport is currently not in use despite major rehabilitation work done by the National Airports Corporation (NAC).