By EDDIE OSIFELO
MINISTRY of Infrastructure Development is in the process of reviving the Public Works Departments (PWD) in the provinces.
Acting Permanent Secretary, Stephen Maesiola confirmed this after Opposition Leader, Mathew Wale told Parliament recently that reestablishment of the provincial PWDs needs to be fast tracked.
Wale added once the provincial PWD units are back in action they need to be adequately equipped and trained to be responsible for the regular upkeep of provincial roads, bridges, airstrips and wharves.
However, Maesiola said Wale never listened when he informed the Public Accounts Committee twice on the progress of PWDs.
He said last December, the Cabinet has approved 54 new positions for MID which include those who will be posting in the provinces.
Maesiola said MID will be posting engineers, senior mechanics and architectures to the provinces to supervise the work.
He said the Provincial Governments will provide other employees like truck drivers and bulldozers operators to support the MID staffs.
“This is an ongoing programme of the DCGA to reduce costs in sending contractors to the provinces.
“The MID staff and support officers from the provinces will be responsible to do maintenance in the township,” he said.
Furthermore, Maesiola said they will also act as agents of National Disaster Council to repair damaged bridges and upgrade roads during any natural disasters.
Currently, Lata in Temotu Province and Kirakira in Makira Ulawa province still maintain their workshops except for other provinces.
Maesiola said MID has already secured a land in Gizo, Western Province, after it was sold to a businessman.
He said Isabel Province is willing to allocate a land to MID to establish a workshop following the need to connect roads on the longest island.
On Rennell and Bellona, Maesiola said a land is available but they need to visit the site to demarcate it.
However, he said land dispute still hinders the progress on the land at Auki, Malaita province, after it was sold to a businessman.
“I have written two letters to Malaita Province but still to get a response until today.
“Malaita Province needs to give an alternative land for a workshop because of the need to upgrade roads and other infrastructures on the big island,” he said.
Further to that, Maesiola said MID is working with Choiseul to get a land despite the delay to wait for the relocation of Taro Township to the mainland.
He said for Central Island province, he is not sure if there is workshop for MID there.
However, Maesiola said MID is open to work with Central Islands province to establish a workshop if it is available.