PNG: A town

Alan Bradley abradley1 at bigpond.com
Mon Feb 25 17:26:51 MST 2002


>From the Post-Courier (http://www.postcourier.com.pg/ ):

Focus
 Tuesday 26th February, 2002

Leaders: Goroka in deteriorating state

Breakdown in provision of vital services

GOROKA town, once the pride of the Highlands region, is gradually losing its
glory because of the negligence of the authorities concerned.
Three of Eastern Highland's prominent community leaders - former premier
Walter Nombe, former national parliamentarian and statesman Sir Akepa Miakwe
and prominent community leader Auwo Ketauwo - have joined forces to question
the authorities concerned about their negligence of the town.
The leaders say they are saddened to see a complete break-down in the
provision of vital services by the Goroka town authorities and the mass
exodus of business houses from the Eastern Highlands capital.
They are calling on the authorities concerned - the Goroka Capital Authority
and Goroka Urban Local Level Government - to act immediately and sensibly
and adhere to their roles and functions, otherwise the situation will go
from bad to worse resulting in more business houses packing up and leaving.
Additionally, the leaders want the town authorities to act quickly because
this once beautiful town in the Highlands is gradually losing its former
glory because of the deteriorating conditions of services.
"I am saddened and at times angry to see facilities I have spoken vigorously
about to bring to the Goroka community are now in tatters simply because
no-one in authority seems to have any legitimate concern," Mr Nombe said.
They said a notable decline in services can be attributed to the exodus of
companies such as Collins & Leahy, British American Tobacco and Paragon
Earthmoving. Even Pacific Helicopters has shifted its headquarter from
Goroka to Brisbane, Australia.
The leaders pointed out that almost all the services provided by the urban
local level government have ceased to function.
"What is happening to the authority's function to collect land rates and its
role in the issue of sanitation and garbage,'' Mr Nombe questioned.
"The accounts section needs to reactivate its role and go out and collect
debts owing to the authority. In doing so it will help it have income to
provide other relevant services needed by the residents.".
The leaders said that among a list of major concerns, the services provided
by the town authority have very much deteriorated over the years.
Among the list of concerns raised by the leaders are:
l THE filthy and unhygienic state of the main Goroka town market with pigs
roaming within the market area and the trading of store goods such as rice,
soap and clothing inside the market;
l NO public toilets and proper sanitation at the market place;
l THE tall grass and shrubs on the edges of the Goroka airport;
l GROWING number of betelnut vendors within the town area;
l NO street lighting in Goroka;
l THE ugly state of roads in Goroka town;
l THE outdated town sewage facility at Fimito;
l INCREASING number of fast-food outlets without proper health
authorisation;
l NO check and balances of prices offered by stores in towns;
l INCREASE in the number of beer outlets in town; and
l RESIDENTS building cook houses from bush materials in town.
One major concern the leaders said was definitely destroying the image of
Goroka was the market.
Despite the fresh vegetables sold, the condition of the market is appalling.
There are no footpaths and once there is a downpour the place looks like a
pigs' sty, they said.
"The Goroka town market which once was the best in the country has lost its
former glory. It is now like a breeding ground for pigs. Pigs are roaming
freely among the people and dropping their waste everywhere.''
The leaders also called for the provincial authorities to seriously look at
the break-down of the vagrancy law in the province.
This is mainly because various ethnic groups are obtaining land illegally
and building settlements within and around the town boundaries.
The very people are responsible for the law and order problems in town.
Mr Ketauwo said the tall grass and shrubs growing at the edges of the Goroka
airport are an eye-sore.
The first impression anyone gets about the province is its entry point,
therefore, something needs to be done about that, he said.
"We understand that the Goroka airport is under the responsibility of the
National Government through the Office of Civil Aviation (OCA),'' Mr Ketauwo
said.
"Nevertheless, who is now responsible for the cleaning of the edges of the
airport? Tall grass and shrubs have invaded the airstrip making it look like
a facility operating in the bush," Mr Nombe said.
They said Eastern Highlands Province has the second largest population in
the country and has nine elected representatives in the National Parliament.
Of these nine representatives, the Ungai-Bena, Daulo, Goroka and the
regional member have their base in Goroka.
However, there seems to be little or no consideration given to uplift the
state of the town over the years.
"Goroka town does not seem to look like the provincial headquarter. It is
like a sub-district headquarter," Mr Nombe said.
Sir Akepa and Mr Ketauwo acknowledged the past contributions of Mr Nombe
during his term as premier when he authorised the installation of
streetlights in Goroka.
The leaders also acknowledged the recent projects which are creating
employment opportunities and other spin-off benefits in Goroka.
The projects are the construction work on the new University of Goroka
library by Downer Construction and the Japanese government funded town water
treatment project by Hebou.
Otherwise, the general business activity in Goroka is still at its usual
slow pace.
Meanwhile, the three leaders welcomed the appointment of Ron Uyassi as the
new provincial administrator to Eastern Highlands replacing Charles Goto.

- James Kila works in the Coffee Industry Corporation's public relations
section

Copyright, 2001, Post-Courier Online.


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