By Wallace Kiala - The National

The Popondetta branch of the National Development Bank (NDB) is reported to owe a total of K628,000 after local farmers took out loans for farming and other projects and could not afford to repay their loans as a direct result of Cyclone Guba in 2007, the provincial administration said yesterday.

Meanwhile the Northern (Oro) Province Restoration Authority (NPRA) is yet to respond to a submission towards the end of last year from the Oro administration requesting the NPRA to repay the debts owed to NDB.

The Bank headquarters in Port Moresby is expected to make a statement. The NPRA in the meantime could not be contacted for comment.

On Monday, more than 500 people who had been in care centres behind the Katereda rural hospital at Oro Bay after Cyclone Guba, petitioned the provincial administration to be relocated to permanent locations so they can resume a better life.

Acting provincial administrator Owen Awaita received the petition and said he would  be preparing a provincial executive council submission to request the State to allocate blocks of land for this exercise.

As plans for relocation are underway Mr Awaita said the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) would support with food crop seeds and seedlings for the people to grow on their new resettlement land.

"Landowner issues continue to be a setback but we must put our people's lives first and support those who have been greatly affected in the past disasters, and continue to do so in current crisis," Mr Awaita said.

He appealed to the public in Oro to let common sense prevail and ensured that the livelihood of people affected was a priority.



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