logging & oil palm operations in Tring village of Turubu in East Sepik Province: destructive and illegal

Source: Jimmy Kalebe

The latest logging and oil palm operations in Tring village of Turubu in East Sepik Province were claimed by landowners as destructive, unbeneficial and illegal.

The claims come after proper procedures were not followed, no real benefits shared among landowners and consent was not sought through the immediate landowners before trespassing into customary land by the logging company.

Picture: Rainforest Kwila trees piled and ready to be exported at Turubu Bay log pond. Courtesy of Sam Moko

It was revealed that the landowner company Limawo Holdings Limited and the oil palm company Summit Agriculture Development Limited did not consult all landowners concern rather consultation was done to selected people who are not legitimate landowner and are sided with the companies.

Landowner and clan leader of Nyumbam Clan Augustine Mondu in a report said despite the fact that the land is currently under dispute and also in court for its legality under SABL, the operating companies overlooked those facts.

Mr Augustine Mondu who is also chairman of Turubu Eco Forestry Development Program Inc said his clan has brought this matter up with the provincial land office and other authorities but little transpired from their actions.

The landowners also written letters to the landowner company informing them of their concerns and raised issues surrounding the matter but it was only in vain.

Mondu said in the report that the provincial lands office has written letters to the logging company informing them not to trespass into their customary land but it was not followed as instructed.

Picture: One of the many temporary tracks for logging that has created massive destruction on customary land belonging to Tring villagers in Turubu LLG in East Sepik Province. This logging activity has done millions of Kina damages to sacred sites, hunting grounds and customary land boundries.

The landowner said through his actions to put an end to logging activities on his clan’s land, his life was threatened by individuals supported by the landowner company.

Mr Augustine Mondu added that this case is still pending in court as his clan is seeking justice over millions of Kina damages done to his sacred sites, old cemeteries and hunting grounds.

Meanwhile, Turubu Oil Palm Plantation Limited has planted over 500,000 palms in an estimated area of over 20,000 hectares of kunai grassland and forested land.

The company employed over 2,000 casual and permanent workers and is currently planning to put up a processing plant and a township.

Many casual workers have complained that the amount of work they do is huge but their pay package was very low compared to the national casual pay limit set by the government.

It was also revealed that a counterfeit K100.00 bank note was in circulation and was contained in the pay packet of majority of the casual workers at the plantation site.

Authorities in the province have been alerted with this matter but to date nothing constructive originated from this matter since it was revealed in December last year.

It was alleged that the fake bank note was either printed in the country or outside of the country and used to pay casual workers.