Footbridge to ease villagers burdens
Press Release Oct 2, 2014
A new footbridge will make life a lot easier for a community in the North Fly district of Western Province.
The villagers will no longer struggle to cross the Ok Tedi River to bring their produce to markets and also access services such as health and education because of the construction of a new footbridge.
The people of Ningerum and Nupmo regions were all smiles as they gathered on Monday 29th September to witness the official opening of the 164-metre long footbridge.
Present were Western Governor Ati Wobiro, North Fly MP Boka Kondra, Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) chairman Nigel Parker, OTDF chief executive officer Ian Middleton, community leaders, and provincial and local level government representatives.
Governor Wobiro who officiated at the ground breaking ceremony for the project nine months ago, was honoured to return to officially open the footbridge.
“I am happy as Governor of Western Province to officially open this footbridge for our people to safely cross the river to access services and to generate business activities,” Mr Wobiro said.
Speaking on behalf of the women and children, president of the Nupmo Women’s Association Noni Dukmun said her people had struggled and encountered many difficulties in the past when there was not such an infrastructure.
“Before this bridge was built, our people paddled canoes to cross the river and women and children found it extremely difficult when the river current was strong. Now with this bridge, life will be much easier for us to cross the river,” Ms Dukmun said.
The bridge was constructed at a total cost of K10.4 million and funded through the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) component of the Western Province People’s Dividend Trust Fund.
OTDF facilitated the funding and construction of the footbridge following a request from the communities. OTDF is the legal entity that manages CMCA development benefits from the Ok Tedi Mine on behalf of the mine associated communities.
OTML managing director and chief executive officer Nigel Parker, who spoke in his capacity as chairman of OTDF, praised the leaders and people of the CMCA communities for their wise decisions in putting their funds to better use.
“We are seeing delivery of many planned projects. Ok Tedi and OTDF cannot work alone. We must have you the people and we must have the politicians with us because combined, we can do extraordinary things,” Mr Parker said.
The bridge links more than 3,000 people in 14 villages in both the Nupmo region on the West Bank and Ningerum station on the east bank of the Ok Tedi River.
Apart from allowing a safe crossing for villagers, the bridge also opens up opportunities for commercial activities for the communities. The bridge was constructed by Wild Cat Development Ltd.