Land hearing for Sikut Talvat concludes

The PNG National Land Board concluded its hearing for the 200 blocks occupied by people in the Sikut Talvat Resettlement area in the Rabaul District.

The Land Board Hearing was conducted at Malapau Conference Centre in Kokopo, East New Britain Province, from June 4-7.

This exercise is in line with the commitment made by Prime Minister James Marape on March 10, 2024, to hand over titles to block holders when ENB marks the 30th anniversary of the twin volcanic eruptions. The block holders are families who were displaced during the 1994 volcanic eruption 30 years ago.

National Land Board Chairman, George Gware, at the conclusion of the four-day hearing, described the plight of the Talvat people as unfortunate when they were displaced from their original home by the twin volcanic eruptions.

He thanked the board for convening in Kokopo to try and assist the process put in place by the ENB Provincial Administration, through the Division of Lands and the Department of Lands and Physical Planning.

“We came and we knew that we need to sit down and ensure that the 200 applicants must be processed and managed to get it all done. So come September, 200 titles can be issued to blockholders and that will be the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one for our people,” Gware stated.

Following the hearing, the board will make a decision and the and the block holders advised accordingly.

Gware said other provinces can also learn from this and hoped people in similar situations are able to address their problems about land and people being displaced.

Meantime, ENB Provincial Administrator, Levi Mano, commended the National Land Board hearing, saying it was a milestone for the province and it has lifted a great burden that the province has faced for three decades.

Mano said the people of Sikut Talvat have lived with doubt for the past 30 years and faced problems with the nearby landowners.

Following the 1994 volcanic eruptions, ENB has established eight resettlement areas, including Sikut Talvat, which is the first identified for issuance of titles under the land mobilisation program.

Mano acknowledged the support of the ENB Governor, Michael Marum, the two Open Members for Rabaul and Kokopo, and key provincial administration officers for working tirelessly with the limited timeframe.

Author: 
Loop Author