Stormwater filled with rubbish floods nearby homes while soil erosion is reducing the landmass of properties located right beside the unfinished drain.
Work on the Butibam stormwater drainage project, under a local contractor, resumed in December 2020.
The project costing was K1.5 million while the Morobe Provincial Government gave the contractor K988,000 to construct a drain connecting Bumantop to the Bumbu River.
Men and youth from the village were hired while sand and stones were sourced, free-of-charge, from a nearby area called Gravel.
According to the workers, construction stopped without proper notice between May and June this year. Confrontations followed immediately over workers’ frustrations of outstanding payment.
With an estimated distance of less than 300 metres, villagers are calling on the Ahi LLG president, Malcolm Kalo, to acquit the funding so work can continue.
Kalo, who admitted that he is yet to get the details of the project, said the issue of wastes and blockages originated from the settlement that had sprouted at the back of the village.
“Ol karim ol displa ol pipia kam dampim lo hap, thinking that wara bai karim na bai kam go daun lo Bumbu na go end up lo solwara ya, ol kam pas insait lo ol kalvets. Em blok na mipla bin feisim bikpla problem lo hapsait.”
Kalo said with the provincial government not meeting the full costing, work had to be halted for an indefinite period while a submission was made to the Lae City Authority (LCA) to assist them.
The Ahi LLG president outlined that the Lae MP was advised of the issue, where a commitment of K400,000 was made.
“Nau yet em olsem, mipla weit. Mipla weit inap LCA bod sidaun na ol i gim tok orait nau lo fanding nau em bai kontrakta bai kisim na stat wokim wok. Wok i go stop bikos mani nogat.”
Kalo further said another reason why they ran out of money quickly was because officers from the provincial works department expected to be paid after inspecting the work there. Even though they are on the payroll of their respective departments, they get additional money from the contractor when they turn up on site.