Thursday, May 23, 2013

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION, A 3G NETWORK AND INTERNET ACCESS

There are many words to describe the Buang region
There are many words to describe the Buang  region.   Mountainous,   remote,   difficult and beautiful.    Buang   reveals its  true beauty  every morning,  as the sunrise  creeps over the   mountains revealing breathtaking cliffs  and slender waterfalls  that plunge   hundreds of meters into the rivers below. 
         This is a place where the people fix the roads without asking for payment  from the government or the member of parliament or the  local level  government.  It’s a  place that  is being transformed by a collection small projects that  will have massive impacts in the years to come. 
Sam Basil Bulolo MP
"Today we're able to watch television and use computers and printers," says  a teacher.  "Its because we have electricity."
        The Buang rural electrification project  is the brainchild of  the Bulolo MP,  Sam Basil who lives in  his village   a few  kilometers from this location.  He said  the desire  to have   the conveniences  of urban life  all in  in this beautiful local location was one of the things what drove him to  build this project.
        "We want to make Buang the power garden of Bulolo," Basil says hinting at plans for more power generation that will feed electricity into the existing PNG Power grid that supplies Lae city.
        In the villages, each house has three light bulbs as well  power points.  It looks like a small  change but  electricity will cut down the amount of firewood  that women and children have to carry every day.   It will reduce  the amount of work women  do in terms of  cooking and washing. 
        Children will be able to study at night.  Education  is expected to  progress in leaps and bounds as teachers and students gradually discover  a vast store of knowledge accessible  via the internet.
Rural electrification changing lives
        The power project  adds to  several earlier projects have  happened here.  Today,  People here have access to a 3G mobile  network.  They watch the Papua New Guinea's two free-to-air  TV stations without any interruption.  They  no longer need a portable generator set to charge their batteries.  And the fuel costs per household  has been slashed by 3 quarters.
        A partnership between the people of Bunag and a Chinese company is expected to be finalized soon.   The Chinese have brought their expertise and their money to build a hydro power station.  The Bunag people – who  own the land and resources  - will be part owners in a venture that will sell electricity to PNG power.
       But one major challenge remains.  The road that links Buang to the provincial capital   still needs a lot more work.    In the next few months  this road will continue to be upgraded. Sam Basil is talking with the Huon Gulf MP, Ross Seymore to have a road link from Bulolo to Salamaua as  well as  well as an extension of the rural electrification program.



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