Polye is the longest serving Works Minister in any serving government since independence but cannot match a simple mechanic the late Mr Iambakey Okuk. Is Don Pomb Polye the man with many degrees and a civil engineer background capable to handle the works ministry? His speeches in Parliament is always very convincing but to no where.
Fix the Highlands Highway now!
Rumours doing the rounds at the Works Department is that the Secretary Joel Luma is on his way out.
The rumour sparked off when the Acting Chief Secretary, Manasupe Zurenuoc walked into the Department recently and asked for the resume of one of the deputies. While we give credit for what Mr Luma has achieved during his term, we find that the Works Department has failed miserably in many areas one being the maintenance of all the roads in PNG.
If the rumour is true, than he must go and we need someone who is proactive, can utilise men, equipment and other resources at his disposal to fix all existing roads, including our highways. In the pre-independence days, the Works Department, at that time known as the Department of Public Works was the driver of development in this country. The department built the countrys entire road network, placed men and machines at strategic locations along these roads to consistently maintain them to keep goods and services flowing.
It is true to say that if it was not for the Department of Public Works, this country would not be ready to get Independence. Today much of what the Department of Public Works has built has remained but not in the state that it was some 15 to 20 years ago.
All the roads are falling to pieces and the highways are also going the same way. Not a single day goes by without the newspapers reporting about the road conditions in Lae city or the Highlands Highway or other roads. Roads are key to economic and social development. No roads, no life. To put it simply.
The changes at the Works Department, if the rumour is true, must not stop there. Poor Luma and the department under his care can only perform if there is proper support in terms policy, money and direction from the Minister. Don Pomb Polye is most probably the longest serving works Minister PNG has had and under him ,we have watched all the road assets going to the dogs.
The Highlands Highway and many other roads in PNG were built when Sir Iambakey Okuk was Minister for Works in the late 1970s to the 1980s. He was only a mechanic and now we have a civil engineer and there is nothing to show for it. He must go and a new man, who do less talking and get down to tackling the real issues on the ground, be appointed.
Once appointed, the new minister should get down to repairing all existing roads and the priority should be the Highlands Highway, PNGs most economical asset.
But today is not the same as it was even 10-15 years ago...for I remember very clearly as a kid.
1. The DOW was not politicized; and so Sir Okuk did not fight bureaucratic process and red-tapes. I remember DOW equipment operators, drivers and foreman jobs were the most interesting jobs when I was in high school, a lot of my mates enrolled at PETT to become heavy equipment mechanics, they loved the idea of tearing apart, getting dirty and fixing loaders, graders and tipper trucks, at road sides and at the same time getting the attention of beautiful local girls...it was a time of fun and real work. Today no body wants to do that, these job are not even jobs along the highlands highway....in place of dedicated workers...we have a new crop of elites who are now referred to as "CLAIMS SPECIALIST"...when there is complete breakdown in our national work force to run, maintain both equipment and roads...how would you expect a politician to perform miracles...Mr Polye has not only a the roads to worry about...but people, FOR GOODNESS SHAKE...our people have completely lost touch of reality, of honest hard work. Today they are lazying around making false claims and accusations. If they hear there is money for road maintenance, they que up with dubious plans at various bureaucratic process to siphon the funds.
2. Politicians 10-15years ago were not responsible for what is commonly seen today as DONATIONS to this and that road maintenance or vehicle for this and that school or hospital. The national budget, the department budgets and provincial government budgets remained just that. Those monies and funds had nothing to do with politicians, and ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO. Where in the Westminster system of government puts a politician in charge of various levels of bureaucratic budget processes? The system is too corrupted and politicized in PNG: So how than can the works Minister Don Polye or for that matter any other minister get a political process completed successfully, if other politicians dig in and want to take a sniff at all levels of bureaucracy, most importantly, budgets and implementation.
TODAY IT IS NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO GET ANYTHING DONE...SYSTEM IS SO CORRUPT. The politicians brought all these down on all of us by their greed, Like Sir Mekere said not long ago, corruption is both pandemic and endemic.
We the citizens of PNG; all including the; politicians, bureaucrats, businessman, academics, technocrats, students and all need to take a full 360 turn, we need to go back a full circle to change all that's been done, the wrongs must be righted FIRST.
If not yours, mine and others voices will be drowned out by corruption...how long will it take for good man to keep hanging on. Only if we all start with a good heart, we can change.
If we want Don Polye and Sam Basil and Kapris and others to deliver...we have to support them by changing our mindset and those near to us whom we can at least influence to change for the better.
Oh..so the non-performance of Polye is to do with today's political scenarios and our people's laziness?? We'll, this may be part of a small slice of the issue BUT as far as competentcy in this day and age,Polye has no excuse and he is of no comparasion to Okuk. As societies evolve for the better or worse over time, so do challenges. Okuk lived with challenges at his time but delivered. Polye's challenges today as you mentioned can be managed if he sits down and uses his expertise as an engineer or whatever he is qualified at. He simply is not using his skills and is jumping on the bandwagon of ther politicans less educated. So instead of hanging him, I have these options..
1. Yes, lately some of our people have been plain lazy in building huts and planting trees along roads when they learn that the highway will be expanded. So what is the real problem? Does Polye know that certain distance away from the highway (20-30m) is state land? Those squatters are on the very land earmarked for highway maintence on state land. So before any ground breaking ceremony, Polye should use the dormant army, police etc, clear all these huts..."get tough"..and move ahead with the contractors maintaining the highlands highway
2.Has Polye used numerous technical assesments on the geological conditions undertaken by various government organisations? If he looks around, geologists and geotechnical engineers at the PNG Mining Dept under World Bank funding have done numerous assesments and proposed alternatives for this very lifeline of the nation's econmomy, the highlands highway? He should use that and advance the highway expansion and maintenance
3. Political influence and inteference..yes, OKuk faced this too. So what, Polye went into politics expecting that..so use your imagination..Parkop remains in Opposition, uses his imagination,skills etc to turn around Port Moresby..Why the lame excuse for Polye.?
I hope I have helped in this discussion..
The most critical and problematic sections of highway under discussion here has to be the highlands/Okuk highway...especially the Simbu section.
Unfortunately, the 20-30m you are talking about seemed to be some of the best part of any highlanders landhold for his home and his future childrens home...as far as I can see along the Simbu section of the highway. Simbu's DON'T HAVE MUCH LAND for your information, not like the EHP,WHP or SHP. You would have to kill any Simbu along the road to EFFECTIVELY POLICE that piece of government right for 20-30m land maintenance along the highway...wake up and get realistic.
Don Polye did admit that road instability issue is a geological/geotechnical one, and there is nothing the government can do with their budgetary constraints...I am not in support of Polye, or for that matter any works Minister past or present. From a technical perspective, for any significant work to be done along the Simbu section, for instance, the overburden has to be stripped, the bedrock which is the failing Chim Formation has to be properly drained and managed, just to address these two issues, will equate to operational costs of any gold mine, except that there is no gold to sell but a road to maintain.
The Simbu section of the highway will continue to fail, come and go Polye's and Okuk's...unless we relocate the road to another geo-technically stable part of Simbu. May be Mr Polye has not explored this option...the Government will have to invest heavily in a NEW ROAD.
"sometimes we try too hard to put people on a sharp bed of needles, without even thing if we our selves can take the task and succeed"
Yu got this absolutely right...Polye is not using his coconut, he is acting as he was not the works manager in charge of the very highlands highway..he knows the technical issues, he has gone to sleep like the illiterate politicans, Parkop is a lawyer and you can see how he is delivering even in opposition..Polye is in gov't, the dominant player in NA and in charge of millions of kina, knows the technical issues, yet has failed to deliver..so he is a slap in the face of engineers,geotechnical engineers,geologists etc that know one of their kind is not performing to expectations given the background he is trained for..so pls Polye, you need a competent secretary for works and team up with the best people around and get the highlands hwy up..coz your Kandep people are at one of the terminal points of this highway as well and it's like you are ignoring the very hand that feeds you..
Brother MM, i sympathise with our Simbu brothers who are faced with scarce land... If educated Simbus or for that matter other PNG thinks that way, we might as well forget the highlands hwy..coz' simbu does it, others are and will do the same thing..they wont't say we have sufficient land, yes and I have seen huts and gardens half a metre away from the hwy in Nebilyer (WH)or in Enga! So where does this live the highlands hwy...we are doomed..!
Talking about diverting to safer ground, especially avoiding the Chim Fm and build the hwy away, esp Kondaku Tuff (volcanics), yes, is a viable option but where are you going to relocate the landowners there to?
Surely there will be mounting problems..let's get this straight..The highway was sucessfully in operation on the very Chim Fm after it's construction to recent times, Qs is...Where geological conditions there when the hway was first done up to it's hey days???
Yes, for sure, but why now? Simple. plain stupidity by incompetent governments, works ministers in particular, not to maintain the drainage of the hwy, dismantling of works dept, no pre-emptive measures taken and leaving problems till a landslip has occured...and of course our landowners who have moved to the roads to do gardens and cleared the land, the expectation as they see "handouts/compo etc".
Tell you what, if real records were revealed, this very Simbu sections have countless claims after claims, amounting to millions,some already paid, some paid but taken down overnight and built next down the valley again, some POM based "landowners" carrying folders trying to see the "works secretary" and the middle man of course! This given the case, brother Johny's suggestion to enforce the 20-30m law has merrit..but will those law enforcers be neutral..from experience they too compromised and had some of "names on the claims"!
Wow..mi no save, yupela ol saveman tingim na skelim...ating problem i stap long ol skul man i no wokbung na suportim ol asples,lesman na Polye i no gat creativity! corruption in PNG na we're blaming geological conditions which have been there, will always be in generations next...good news is geological conditions on the chim are manageable, problem is..clowns not using their heads and corruption creeping in..
Geologically Chim Formation is very thick, up to 4000ft thick and almost 70% of that is sticky claystone, it covers the length and breath of the highlands highway, along the Chuave-Kundiawa-Whagi valley. Extends all the way to Porgera Gold Mine. Geotechnically the Chim Formation creates massive land failures NOT ONLY BECAUSE THERE IS INFRACTURE such as roads ON IT...but because IT IS GEOLOGICALLY UNSTABLE. Once competent bedrock is unroofed due to surface weathering or stressed due to loading (heavy haulage trucks) or waterlogged due to deforestation and re-vegetation by short shrubs/grass; we will continue to have catastrophic failures. Porgera Gold Mine has excellent case studies on stability issues associated with Chim Formation because all their mine infrastructure is on Chim Formation. PJV waste rock dump site is geotechnically managed to utilize the feature of Chim Formation as bedrock.
Having said that; lets get back to the highlands highway. The maintenance cost of highway especially where Chim Formation is always going to be a problem. My guess is that the highway has been taking about 20 years of heavy haulage, 30 years of deforestation, and continuous unroofing. All these are recipes for catastrophic failures along the highway. There are ONLY a few remedies; 1. complete stripping of the overburden down to the bedrock, we are talking in places 20-50m depth of stripping: a near impossible task, and at present day costs; we talking billions of kina from EHP to SHP and Enga. 2. Road relocation to more stable formations, again who will make their land available for new roads, after seeing the negative impacts of catastropic land failures along highways. 3. Manage and maintain current state of road; which will continue to cost the government more money, businesses to suffer, reduce landuse for landowners.
Chim Formation em lapun meri pinis...em bai givim more problem. We all need to understand what we are dealing with. Even if you were given millions of kina to fix it, you will run out of money just as the present government is. What ever maintenance they are doing now, will only last at most 2-3 years.
If we are serious, and want to build a national road that will last a hundred years, we build it upon solid foundation, good solid bedrock. Shifting the highway is the best option, will cost the country a lot of money, landowners their good land, but we have to do it, if we want a long lasting road.
Don Polye does not seem to have the answers at the moment; I believe he is handicapped, with due respect to him.
I do agree with the opposition's statement last week describing the NA Government as being in power too long and has become complacent.
The NA Government has the longest serving Ministers and Works Minister - Don Polye is one of those Ministers and the works department is peforming very poorly.
Health Minister Sasa Zibe has gone to sleep too while the Healt Department under Clement Malau blames the Government for not living up to its expectations and the same symptoms can be seen in all departments.
The poor CIS Minister got the boot for nothing its the government's fault for underfunding the CIS.
PNG has to put up with for two more years before the next election 2012 and thats when people like Don Polye and other non-peforming Ministers can be sidelined by the new regime.
Works in the red
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
The Works Department is in the red and cannot carry out urgent repair work on the Highlands Highway and other roads in the country.
The department owes K30 million to contractors, the same amount that is allocated for maintenance of roads in the 2010 Budget.
And Works, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye is pointing the finger at the National Planning Department, which he said should be abolished and made only an agency of the Prime Ministers Department.
Mr Polye and Works secretary Joel Luma called a press conference to let out their frustrations.
They stopped short of calling names, choosing instead to blame a system that they say was not working.
I am sick and tired of funds being siphoned off and misused. I am not going to sit down and take my department for a ride.
Mr Polye said money allocated to Works should be released to their trust account immediately and not kept at a department where there is no transparency.
National Planning is not and should not be a department. It should become a monitoring agency within the Prime Ministers Department. Right now there is less transparency there, the minister said.
Mr Polye said the K30 million in the 2010 Budget for routine maintenance was not enough.
When that money is released, it will be used to pay an outstanding bill of K30 million owed to contractors who have worked on a credit basis.
He said the department could not do routine maintenance work on bridges swept away by floods in West New Britain and Oro and national roads in the country.
The minister said he would be pushing for a Supplementary Budget to be introduced to cater for road maintenance which he said needed at least K300 million.
He said the K20 million requested since November last year for urgent repair work on the sections of the Highlands Highway, including the slip at Daulo Pass, was still sitting at the Department of National Planning and Monitoring.
Mr Polye said Mr Luma had been running in and out of National Planning and he himself had to make a follow-up yesterday but was told by an officer he had forgotten about the request.
Mr Polye gave harsh words without naming any politician or public servant for the stuck-up but blamed the system.
I am still waiting for the K30 million from National Planning. Its not the minister or the Prime Minister but the system.
It is the responsibility of the National Planning to ensure that funds are released timely for maintenance.
He said there were two road blocks in Daulo, three bridges washed away in West New Britain, slip on the Sepik Highway and potholes along Hiritano and Magi highways that needed attention.
He warned the Highlands Highway could be cut off for days or weeks if the Department of Planning failed to release the funds.
Today we saw Polye and his secretary blaming the national planning dept for not releasing the funds resulting in the works dept in the red...This is simply pathetic! There is always an excuse..Polye is not works minister for 1 year, he has been there longer than any other minister, infact the longest serving works minister..so he knows where the money went to!Blaming another gov't dept for your own failure is absurd..Simply say, I messed up, I siphoned the funds to fund my court cases and election campaign..end of story!
It's really hard to trust someone these days especially in PNG. They are too many wolves with sheep's skin. Contesting under a religious party doesn't exactly define the real person...it's just a tag that beautifies someone. It's merely like we PNGeans calling ourselves Christians when our moral integrity is totally opposite to the principles of what it takes to be called Christians.
We are our own enemies fighting a losing battle. It's better we identify who we are first before judging someone else.
Compelling new video footage shows the appalling state of the main Lae-Madang highway where road users were forced to sleep in their vehicles for two nights after recent heavy rains washed mud from the Ramu mine pipeline construction across the road, totally blocking traffic in both directions.
Previous videos posted on this blog have shown the extremely poor quality of the Chinese construction work along the 140km tailings disposal pipeline for the Ramu nickel mine and previous compalints about the lack of compaction, no drainage and absence of retaining walls have now been substantiated by the large landslips caused by heavy rain which is a constant feature of the Madang weather.
The latest videos graphically shows the anger of road users who blame the Chinese mine company and the National government for the terrible condition of the road.
The shoddy workmanship by the Chinese mine company; the lack of government oversight and the governments failure to invest in our road network are all symptoms of the widespread corruption that is crippling our nation.
Somare will definitely go down as a Sepik with Chinese blood. He has raped the virginity of the once renowned beautiful madang!THANKS TO cHINESE mmcc!
How can polye and his mob from the highlands support somare to rape and torture png? ples, em pen tru ya!
So much LNG hype, and our people are the poorest ever, education syStems collapsed, public service corrupted, health services deteroriating, law and order escalating, police corrupted and disciple broken down, army defunct, courts corrupted and manipulated, environment raped, infrastructure like roads and bridges collapsed, total anarchy experienced now than ever! PNG on the verge of total collapse under somare! TRUELY A FAILED STATE FROM ALL FRONTS!
Please rise up and change the system, shed blood if we have to for a better tomorrow!
Wenge cries foul over missing K25m
MOROBE Governor Luther Wenge has queried the Government on the whereabouts of about K25 million allocated for the maintenance of Lae city roads.
A total of K50 million was budgeted for this purpose with only K25 million used.
Mr Wenge said Lae was growing at a very fast rate but its roads were the worst in the country, especially with potholes everywhere.
He said K50 million was given to the Morobe Treasury but half of that amount was withdrawn later and diverted to some trust accounts in Waigani.
He also questioned why no contracts had been awarded to maintain the roads.
“Minister for Transport, I want you to come with me to Lae and see the two concrete pavement roads I built seven years ago; I assure you that they are still in the best of conditions,” Mr Wenge said
Transport Minister Don Polye, in response, said while he was aware of K25 million being allocated to the Morobe Treasury for road maintenance but had no idea about the other half.
Mr Polye said the issue of contracts was beyond his jurisdiction.
By ELIZABETH VUVU
MUDSLIDES have hit East New Britain’s Kokopo-Rabaul road sparking uproar among local businessmen and residents.
The mudslides, caused by heavy rain, have made the road almost impassable and had damaged private properties.
Businesses said the authorities refused to clear the road “because there was no funding”.
ENB Chamber of Commerce in a statement said business houses were fed up with the problem.
“We ask the province to help. They explained it was national road.
“So we ask Works but they tell us that the road was not funded for maintenance so we should ask Planning.
“We do not know who is responsible but we cannot believe that anyone would build a road and allocate nothing for maintenance,” the chamber’s statement read.
Malaguna, Tavana Valaur, Kuradui and Malapau villages were badly affected by the mudslides.
Vehicles are also having a difficult time trying to get past and often get stuck.
It is also impossible for people to walk, PMVs will not stop there and when the mud dries up, it becomes a dust bowl every time a car drives through.
One angry villager said: “When my grandfathers gave this land to be turned a road, we expected that it would be something we could use and benefit from.
“Now, the land is useless and we wished we had told them to build their road somewhere else.”
David Stein, boss of Nivani Ltd, said they had one of their big trucks sitting at the Rabaul port and needed to be brought into Kokopo.
This week, to ease the situation on the impassable road, the company, at its own cost, used one of their graders to clear up the road and sent the bill to the Department of Works.
The department is expected to issue a purchase order.
Mr Stein said the point here was that it should not be the businesshouses telling Works that the roads were not good, but rather, for Works to respond in a timely manner.
He said part of the long-term problem was upstream in the catchment areas which required hard work on the part of the Government to sort out erosion issues.
Rosemary Sovek, a Malaguna community representative and a member of the ENB chamber of commerce, said: “We are speaking the same language as the villagers who are affected by the mudflows.”
The road was designed by AusAID experts and is only six years old.
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
HIGHWAY truck drivers who frequently travel along the Highlands Highway are calling on the National Government to immediately repair the damaged sections of the road to prevent more fatal accidents.
The drivers expressed their concern that many of their colleagues lost their lives along the road due accidents caused by poor road conditions.
“We are risking our lives daily to transport goods and heavy machinery,” truck driver Peter Angula said.
Mr Angula, who has more than 20 years experience as a truck driver, now works for Michael and Michaels Trucking Company driving fuel tankers on the Highlands Highway.
“Truck drivers are finding it very difficult to travel on the road.
“Many sections of the road are deteriorating from bad to worse and need the Government’s urgent attention.
“Drivers work tirelessly both day and night to transport coffee, tea and other cash crops from the Highlands to the shipping ports in Lae and Madang for export.
“We return with fuel, general goods and heavy machinery for mining activities and business houses in the region.
“But we are frequently delayed due to damaged sections of the road.
“When we are forced to stop, we are subjected to assaults, armed robberies, looting and are threatened by other criminal activities,” he said.
Mr Angula said the Highlands Highway was the life-line of about three million people
in the Highlands.
“If the Government does not intervene to fix the Highlands Highway, goods and services to the region will come to a standstill.
“We risk our lives for the development of the region.
“With bad road conditions, the chances of having an accident is high,” he said.
Truck drivers were now planning to form an association and register themselves with Public Employers Association or with the Trade Union Congress to fight for their rights, he said.
“The drivers will host a big forum sometime this year.”
Mr Angula said those wishing to receive further information on the upcoming forum can contact him on 7257 8837.
THE Simbu landowners along the Highlands Highway are urging the State to expedite payments for highway rehabilitation.
They said they are want payment as early as next month.
A representative and clan leader of the Project 9 along the Simbu province, Ali Umba, said the villagers of projects 9 to 11, from Mangiro to the Waghi Bridge, were very happy that Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc announced that payments would be made in June or July.
Mr Umba said many villagers had died while waiting for the payments and did not want to wait another day longer.
“The assessment, valuation and verification of the highway has already been completed by the Works Department.
“So, what is delaying the payment?”
He said landowners had not allowed any maintenance or other rehabilitation work to be carried out on the highway because of this.
‘If the Government wants to get the LNG project off the ground, they will need to drive up along the highway to get to the bottom of the issues.
“But how will they do that if the roads are not fixed and we refuse to have them fixed?
“This is why, though we appreciate the commitment, we would like to see the money in April,” Mr Umba said.
Reports by Bosorina Robby
A ROAD safety status report revealed that many people aged between 15 and 40 are killed in road accidents.
The report by national data co-ordinator Chief Insp Peri Kanguma and facilitated by the Health Department’s lifestyle disease unit under Dr Thomas Vinit, was presented to the National Road Safety Council last Friday.
Among some of the findings from the data collected nationwide, the report stated that the five top reasons for vehicle accidents were due to speeding, inattentiveness, pedestrians, drink driving and overcrowding and congestion.
“Many of the accidents were avoidable.
“The creation of pedestrian and bicycle pathways so that people can walk or ride bicycles safely on roadside is an immediate solution,” Dr Vinit said.
The report also recommended the establishment of trains, subways and bypasses as alternative modes of transportation to reduce the number of vehicle accidents, congestion and the amount of carbon emissions.
Others include traffic lights in front of schools, hospitals and the introduction of radar and speed cameras to capture speedsters.
The report found that the problems would only escalate due to the increasing number of vehicles on the roads.
“Creation of pathways will reduce the number of fatal accidents and many will also get the exercise they need to keep fit from cycling and walking,” Dr Vinit said.
Chief Insp Kanguma said one thing the public needed to understand was that the cost incurred from an accident was too much because of the cost of hosting a haus krai meeting hospital cost, funeral and transportation bills.
“Since it is better to be safe than sorry, the public must strictly observe traffic regulations,” he said.
THE people of Baiyer district in the Western Highlands province want the authorities to clarify where the proposed transnational highway to Madang will pass through.
The concern was raised following The National report last Wednesday that the construction work would begin at the Baiyer government station to maintain the existing 15.1km access road to Simanga village.
It was also reported that the actual highway will continue from Simanga through Jimi valley, Ruti, crossing Jimi River and connect with Simbai in the Upper Ramu district in Madang.
Ruti village spokesman Albert Koim said the original plan was for the road to begin at the Baiyer government station to Ukini Two-Reva Mountain-Ruti, across the Jimi River and connect with Simbai.
He said this was outlined in the original plan and the recent change had sparked confusion amongst the locals.
He said Governor Tom Olga, in his trip recently to address the road construction issue, had also mentioned that the road would be constructed through Ukini Two.
He questioned why the change was made and called those in authority to clarify the transnational highway’s route.
Mr Koim said this road was much needed and local communities had no reason to oppose any decision, but called for more awareness to be conducted in several village on the road construction.
The PNGDF battalion from Igam Barracks in Lae is responsible for the construction and deployed 40 combat engineers in early January to the area.
Close call ... The Huon Gulf section of the Wau-Bulolo Highway was threatened by the Purunin river at the weekend. The river, in the Wampar LLG, washed away more than 15m of the highway near Warabung village. Other sections of the road were also threatened by the Purunin but not as severely. The Wampit Primary School was affected when flood waters washed debris and mud on a path into classrooms.Teacher George Nalu said classes would be suspended for the 200 pupils. – Words and Nationalpic by PISAI GUMAR
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
THE Department of National Planning has released K20 million for urgent road maintenance on sections of the Highlands Highway although no work plans have been submitted by Department of Works.
National Planning and Development Minister Paul Tiensten accused the Works Department for failing to submit work plans for the use of the money.
However, he denied claims that National Planning was deliberately holding back funds for road maintenance.
He said the National Government had parked between K40 million and K50 million with the National Roads Authority (NRA) whose role is to maintain major roads in the country.
“What is happening to this money held with the National Roads Authority?”
Mr Tiensten said compensation was another big issue as most funds for routine road maintenance had been used for this purpose.
“There is a lot of money going into settling compensation claims along the highway and now we have no money to fix the roads,” Mr Tiensten said. “Compensation is an unbudgeted item. We cannot use maintenance money to pay for compensation.”
Mr Tiensten said the other K10 million would be released once his department received a work plan from Works.
“We do not want to release money to pay for compensation.”
Mr Tiensten said that although money was budgeted, it depended on the cash-flow before money could be released.
The minister said based on the cash flow situation, the Treasury would then release the warrants to National Planning to make payments to relevant organisations.
“We are not deliberately holding onto the money and that is why the two secretaries for Works and National Planning must sit down and sort it out,” Mr Tiensten said.
He said the Highlands Highway was a National Government priority road, with the Asian Development Bank’s multi-trance facility for Enga and Southern Highlands roads.
“We need the Treasurer, myself and Works Minister to sit down to find a way forward instead of going to the media.
“Bad mouthing each other and shifting blame is the last thing we want.
“People want us to take responsibility to ensure we address these issues as a whole Government approach.
“You should not pass the buck to me,” Mr Tiensten said.
“We should address this at Cabinet level instead of making public statements in the media.”
He was responding to Works Minister Don Polye and his secretary Joel Luma, who on Wednesday, blasted the National Planning for withholding money while the Highlands Highway remained close to traffic with landslips at Daulo pass.
Mr Luma confirmed the money was released yesterday.
“Yes we have received the warrant of K20 million which will be used to off-set costs and work on the blocked section of the Highlands Highway,” Mr Luma said.