Markham LOs question Govt

Landowners from Tararan and Zifasing villages from Markham Valley, Morobe Province, are questioning the government on the delays in progressing the biomass project.

Both parties signed the power purchasing agreement in 2015 followed by the recent issuing of the generation licence.

Under this agreement, the Government agreed to bring 30 megawatts of biomass energy to the Ramu grid however, that is yet to eventuate.

Landowners claim the government’s proposal for a coal-fired power generation is the reason for the delay.

The landowners are in Port Moresby at the moment to pursue their concerns with the Minister for Energy, Sam Basil, and Minister for Treasury, Charles Abel.

Representing 60 other families engaged in the biomass project, they explained the project is one way of transforming their land by generating clean, renewable energy through trees.

They said they have obtained licence and permits and approvals through a signed power purchasing agreement with PNG Power however, the government, even after 7 years, is yet to build the promised power plant.

“We are here to ask questions from the government. We are here to confront PNG Power, the Minister for Energy and the Minister for Treasury. Tell us, what is delaying the biomass project?” questioned Chairman of Zif Faring Business Group, Sam Meyab.

Since the inception of the project in 2011, the landowners have seen and experienced the benefits of the projects from receiving annual land rental since 2010, creation of business groups, incorporating and registering land groups, increased financial participation and job employment opportunities are some of the many benefits.

“We want to keep the biomass project and keep our benefits. We want renewable biomass power to our homes and not coal.

“We want our government to honour its commitments to us, to the developer and the country,” said Meyab.

(The landowners in a press conference today)

Carolyn Ure