Neno Residents Demand Answers on Road from RA

Asumi bridge losing shape Asumi bridge losing shape - pic by Steve Kalungwe

Residents of Neno District have taken to task the Roads Authority for what they call tactic delays to identify a new contractor to take over the 20 kilometer road construction works from China Geo Engineering Corporation whose contract was terminated by Roads Authority last year.

The road which was pegged at K6 billion has seen no tangible progress hence residents calling it a political campaign tool.

Neno Road Advocacy Group chairperson Samson Njolomole in an interview on Sunday, said that the Roads Authority is not coming out clear on the future of the road which has missed several datelines and is affecting economic growth of the district.

He asked why the Authority is not briefing the district on the progress of identification of a new contractor despite the board promising to have a new contractor on the ground by December of last year.

"The people of Neno are not happy with this whole process. We have been going through a lot here in Neno. We fail to find markets for our products as we have no road to transport them in their usable state," he said.

Njolomole also gave an example where relief maize has been stuck on the road and referral patients failing to reach the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre due to bad road network.

Njolomole also faults the works at Asumi bridge which he describes as a deathtrap but Roads Authority through its Board Chairperson Reverend Dr. Matilda Matabwa says a new contractor shall continue working on the bridge.

Earlier last week, the grouping also met the Neno District Commissioner Rosemary Nawasha to get details of the road to which Njolomole described their deliberations as fruitful.

But when Zodiak asked the DC on the outcome of the meeting through a telephone conversation, she declined to have met the grouping.

The Authority Board Chairperson Dr. Matabwa further says that the process of identifying a new contractor has almost been concluded and waits a nod from other government agencies.

She has also disclosed that the previously pegged K6 billion road, will now be allocated funds in phases of each National Budget with K1 billion already allocated in the 2023-24 budget.

"All the processes of Identifying the new contractor are almost done and the PPDA gave a no objection to the procurement," she said.

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