By ANDREW ALPHONSE (Post-Courier 22/10/10)
A SEVEN-day stop work notice is looming at the proposed Komo liquefied natural gas (LNG) international airport in the Southern Highlands Province.
Early works including engineering, procurement and construction (ECP) phase 5 of the airport is likely to be stopped by angry landowners early week.
Yesterday, the main clans of the Hela Tuguba airport development project landowners association of Komo were seeing signing a petition to be presented to the State, LNG project developer ExxonMobil, its international contractor and developer of the airport McConnell Dowell Consolidated Contractors Joint Venture (MCJV).
The landowners demanded that before the LNG airport is developed further, they wanted the State, ExxonMobil and MCJV to address some of their outstanding issues.
The landowners made this known through their spokesmen Ipitali Koi, Kapiaru Hegele and Albert Wayali (Imini clan), Thomas Walupali and Lembo Parajia (Takima), Luke Herebe and Jackson Puti (Tapu-Undupi), Hongawi Ipura (Maya), John Lai (Tamburuma) and Olape Papu (Dapamu). They said in the next few days, they would secure the signatures of more than 100 landowner leaders from the affected land at which the airport would be located to give a seven days notice to the State, ExxonMobil and MCJV to address these issues.
They said in an earlier petition delivered on the October 9 to ExxonMobil, State and MCJV, they demanded that there be proper social mapping and landowner identification studies be carried out.
They said without a proper social mapping and landowner identification, ExxonMobil and MCJV are “bulldozing the project and trespassing on customary land”.
They also want other benefits enjoyed by other project like landowners’ business participation, compensation for the destructions of forest and environment damage, seed capital, equity, airport land rental, re-settlement program, Komo township plan, Komo airport authority and separate memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing for Komo airport.
The landowners told the Post- Courier at Komo yesterday that they were also excluded from the umbrella benefit sharing agreement (UBSA) and licensed based benefit sharing agreement (LBBSA) last year and they feel that they may miss out on the benefits if they do not act now. The landowners warned that after securing the signatures, they would issue a seven day stop- work notice to MCJV on Monday.
Yesterday, the Post-Courier visited the Komo airport site and saw only a handful of machines and workmen working while the bulk of them remain idle at the MCJV base.