Vila Times

The upgrading of Norsup Airport questioned in Parliament

The upgrading of Norsup Airport questioned in Parliament
The upgrading of Norsup Airport questioned in Parliament
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The government of Vanuatu plans to upgrade four airports in the country to develop air services to the rural areas but one of them is on hold due to land dispute.
The Minister of Infrastructures and Public Utilities Christopher Emelee revealed to Parliament on Monday last week during ‘Question time’ that he received letters from people from Malekula claiming that they are the rightful landowners of the land which accommodates Norsup Airport.
The Minister mentioned in Parliament that four airports namely Whitegrass on Tanna, Norsup on Malekula, Lonorore on Pentecost and Motalava (Motalava) are to be upgraded but people from Unmet (West Malekula) want that airport be on their side if the land dispute disturbs plans for upgrading.
Mr Emelee was responding to the queries from Malekula MP Sheddrak Gracia who wanted to know during recent Parliament sitting when the upgrading works will begin at Norsup Airport.
Land dispute is a long outstanding issue slowing down the process of the upgrading of Norsup Airport. In middle 90s, the dispute led to the burning down of the airport lounge. Since the condition of the airport has deteriorated.
In 2006, one of the claimants of the land was the first to receive a compensation from the government worth Vt30 million.
In 2016, the land area accommodating Norsup Airport which is about 13 hectares has been acquired by the government and become public land under the Land Acquisition Act.
An outstanding balance of Vt38 million was paid in full into the Custom Landowners Trust Account. The sum will be paid to the rightful custom landowners when the land dispute will be solved by the Courts.

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