BY CLAUDIA TALLY
More than 10,000 settlers in Port Moresby have been affected by evictions since last year and while resettlement promises have been many, the actual exercise remains to be seen.
Between January 2021 and now at least four major evictions have occurred- the Erima eviction, 7-Mile eviction, Garden Hill eviction and Morata eviction, and in most cases, resettlement exercises were said to follow through.
Sadly, this has not eventuated leaving many illegal settlers in limbo, which is adding to the growing crisis in the capital city.
Having conducted research into the informal settlements in urban PNG, Dr Lindsay Kutan, a research fellow at the National Research Institute, said no resettlement plans have been successful yet.
“No, we have not identified any successful resettlement plans although there has been much talk about resettlement.
“While there were cases like the 2 Mile Hill relocation to Saraga, 6 Mile, in 2013, it didn’t work out as anticipated,” Dr Kutan said.
In December last year, hundreds of settlers evicted from a church owned land at Erima were to be resettled at Farea, just outside Port Moresby.
However, that resettlement exercise has not eventuated as yet.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop, who has stepped into to assist settlers on several occasions, explained the hold up in process in a recent interview.
Mr Parkop said: “The long-term plan was to resettle them well before the eviction at Farea.
“We’ve done the survey already, paid the initial deposit already but the Lands Department is yet to get back to us.”
Meanwhile, the most recent settlement eviction notice was served to settlers of ATS Portion 697 last week.
In response settlers staged a protest questioning the government on what processes are in place for evicted settlers.
The National Capital District Commission through its urban development plan has stated that the settlement to suburb program as a development priority under its settlement to suburb program as mentioned by Governor Parkop in a recent interview.
“Our plans are to end settlement and develop them into proper planned suburbs. We are not against development.
“We have no intention of maintaining settlements.
“We want land to be developed but we prefer that any development also cater for settlers, many of whom are in formal public and private sector employment in the city,” Mr Parkop said.