|Subject: Connecting Wabag by roads - Sam Abal shows what it means to be a Leader
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Date Posted: Mon, Apr 16 2007, 11:45:17am
Sunday Chronicle Feature:
By Elizah Sokape
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Connecting Wabag by roads
Wabag MP, Sam Abal focuses on connecting all rural districts in electorate by roads
ROADS and bridges are vital components of any infrastructure development in rural communities in Papua New Guinea.
It is good to have services likes schools, clinics, health centers, aid posts and other services but this would not be possible without road access. A road is a lifeline, especially for people living in isolated rural communities.
One district that has roads connecting almost all rural areas is Wabag in Enga Province.
Wabag MP and Inter-Government Relations Minister Sam Abal, the son of United Party founder and former Wabag MP, Sir Tei Abal, followed his father’s footsteps, by placing his priorities on development of roads and other infrastructures in the district.
Mr Abal’s aim is to have all rural villages connected by roads to the main highway and to have them build the road themselves.
He had allocated K1.1 million for roads this year. A total of 70 new and existing feeder roads were covered by this funding.
The money came from his District Transport Improvement Program (DTIF) funds and Discretionary Funds. A portion of the money allocated was already used on roads since January.
Mr. Abal said, though he is focusing on roads, other issues like law and order, agriculture and economic activities are not forgotten.
He told his people in a meeting at one village recently that he was in Parliament for two years (2005 –2006) after the by-election in November 2004, he has tried his best to bring some tangible developments. The minister also expressed the same in every village that he has visited including Yokota,Wapomanda and Aiyale valley during a visit to some of the newly constructed roads by the people.
Mr. Abal was accompanied by Wabag District team including Wabag District administrator, Peter Yange and Project Officer, Jerry Kaki.
The roads were built by the people using hand tools and others that they could afford. Two of the roads were built from Yokota to Pumulin and from Yalu to Wapomanda and Wabag from Aiyale valley. The road were billt across terrains and mountainous region of Wabag district.
The Yokota to Pumulin road will serve about 8,000 people while the Aiyale road serves more than 15,000. “ We did not ask for money because we know that our MP would provide the funds to help us build the roads. “ We used our own resources and built the roads without knowing how much we would be paid because we have been living without any road linkage to the Wabag town”.
The little that we get as our payment is okay so long as we have the road to the main highway”, a villager Leto Kuni told this reporter in Wabag.
He said it usually two to four hours walk from Yokota village to the Birip Lutheran Mission station where they would catch PMV’s to Wabag or Mt Hagen would now be shortened because of the road.
Aiyale valley people would now use Wapomanda road also expressed the same sentiments.
Waeyo tribe councilor, Meck Weo said his people who usually struggle to carry cash crops like coffee; banana, taro, kaukau and other garden produce to sell at Wabag market via Wapenamanda would now have easy access though Relay outside Wabag town. He thanked Mr. Abal for giving them the road.
Mr. Abal said that people of Aiyel valley have surplus garden produce, which they would now sell at the town market.
He said: “This road is very important because it is more economical for people to improve their livelihood by earning income form selling cash crops and garden produce. “ Once it is widened and filled with gravels in the second stage, people would see all kinds of vehicles traveling to serve the people and services would follow easily”
The Yokota-Pumulin cost K50,000.00 while Yalu/Wapomanda cost over K135,000.00 for the first stage.
The other feeder roads also got their slice from the K1,1 million funding allocated for their maintenance and construction.
Work on another road from Wabag to Maramuni sub-district has already started.
The road works have stopped trouble fighting in the district. A total of 18 tribal fights have stopped. Though there is possibility still for some fighting between Ambulin tribe of Wapenamanda and Wapukin tribe of Wabag district, the Wabag district which has been notorious for its tribal fights is now calm after people started realising the importance of service.
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