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More ownership claims over Santo Hydro Power

While the development of the Sarakata hydropower expansion in the eastern part of Santo Island brings progress in electricity, disputes over ownership claims have emerged among the original landowners.

Chief Joel Path of Hog Harbour expressed bewilderment at the situation, revealing that landowners of small rivers feeding into the Sarakata River are demanding a share in the hydropower benefits.

Chief Path, having seen copies of their claims, conveyed their argument that the hydropower at Fanafo wouldn’t exist without the contribution of these small river sources.

The current beneficiaries are from the village of Fanafo. The claimants are actively gathering signatures for a petition to present to the relevant authorities.

Chief Path finds the claim amusing, suggesting that the original landowners could counter by requesting the claimants to redirect the rivers back to their land instead of contributing to Sarakata hydropower.

While he couldn’t specify the number of river sources flowing into Sarakata River, he confirmed their abundance.

Daily Post observed during a recent visit to Santo that the Vanuatu Utilities and Infrastructure (VUI) Limited, managing Sarakata hydropower, has already installed posts from Turtle Bay to Port Olry.

Chief Path anticipates that villages in East Santo will soon receive electricity from Sarakata hydropower upon completing transformer installations.

He believes this power expansion will significantly benefit the local population, providing electricity to homes in areas like Hog Harbour and Port Olry. Notably, tourist resorts in these areas, such as Lonnoc Eco Beach Bungalows near Champagne Beach, currently rely on solar power systems.

Port Olry, one of Vanuatu’s largest villages, was the country’s first to receive electricity from a coconut fuel power station established by UNELCO over a decade ago. Since then, various projects, including bungalows and a butchery, have flourished in the village

Source: VDP

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