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Community Members In Mtandire Take To Task Road Contractor

Community members in Mtandire in Lilongwe on Thursday 20th July took to task a contractor following what they called a snail's pace to complete the first phase of a 6 kilometer road.

The members said they are now worried the road may be muddy and impassable when rains fall.

Village Headman Chigoneka said people in the area are becoming more worried and asking what is going on, considering that the rainy season is fast approaching and first rains may fall anytime, adding that the situation during the rainy season has in the past proven to be a big challenge for communities.

"There is no progress, infact they are too slow and that is why we called for this meeting to ask what the problem is. We had agreed that phase one which is construction of a bridge and tarmac on the first section should be completed in six months, but as you can see, they are far behind. But we are watching them closely, and we have demanded that they should finish the first phase before the rains fall," said Chigoneka.

Lilongwe City South legislator George Zulu sided with the community members, saying failure to finish the first phase will mean more challenges for the people than before.

He said that the contractors FNC and Meshoz that are working in a joint venture should step up their effort than attributing failure to fuel shortage, at the time it is available and can buy in bulk.

"Fuel is not scarce anymore, they can buy in bulk and work towards completion before the rains fall. We are actually watching them closely so that they do not delay further. The community is concerned, knowing about the dangers they face during the rainy season, so it was only fair that they called the contractors to demand answers for the delay.

Director of Engineering at the Lilongwe City Council Julius Tsogolani said it is a good development that community members can demand speed in implemention of projects, and that since they have agreed that the first phase will be completed by end of next month, that is pleasing.

On the technical issues that the contractors raised, Tsogolani said Escom is creating problems, adding this is not the first projects that it is delaying by making demands on things it has to do based on its mandate.

"We will discuss with Escom and the contractor to map the way forward. Ofcourse this is not the first project that Escom is making demands and causing delays. Moving poles from a road site is their job, and we will make sure thay they do what is necessary," said Tsogolani.

According to the contractors, Escom demanded them to pay 22 million kwacha for removal of electricity poles from the road, and now demanding that the contractors should buy materials for the job.

The contractors FNC and Meshoz attributed the delay to fuel scarcity and other technical challenges for failing to complete the 1.6 billion kwacha 3 kilometer stretch, that was expected to be completed in 6 months from May.

They claim that besides the water pipes and electricity poles which were supposed to be removed before earthworks were conducted, of which only the Lilongwe Water Board removed its water pipes, they were short of fuel supplies as they use 2,000 liters everyday, of which pump stations denied them to buy all that.

The road which is six kilometers long will cost 3.5 billion kwacha, and is funded by the Malawi Government.


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