Future of Neno Tarmac Road Still in the Dark

Neno road Neno road - pic by Steve Kalungwe

People of Neno district have expressed dismay at the delay by the Roads Authority to identify a new contractor for the 20 kilometer stretch which has delayed to commence following cancelation of a contract the Roads Authority awarded to China Geo Engineering Corporation three years ago.

Speaking to Zodiak Online today, Neno Road Advocacy Group chairperson Samson Njolomole said that the delay is affecting delivery of essential services such as health especially during this rainy season when the roads are impassable due to the terrain and mud.

"We feel cheated by the Roads Authority because up to now they are not coming forth with any updates on the progress of identifying a contractor and people here are failing to access services," he said.

The chairperson points to the people of Nsambi, in the area of Senior Chief Dambe who are often locked until the dry season to access medical services at the main Boma hospital, aside failure to conduct hospital referrals to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre by the Neno DHO.

Njolomole further says that as a last resort " we are planning to take unspecified action that will move the government to listen to our calls. This action will shake the whole country as we are tired now".

But Roads Authority Board chairperson Dr. Maltida Matabwa says the contractor will be identified when all processes in relevant offices are concluded.

She added that they are waiting for an objection from the office of Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets.

"Be mindful that some offices close this festive season so we will have the contractor on the ground as soon as possible," she said in a questionnaire.

She also said that some processes to have a contractor take long but they are doing all they can without specifying the exact date the people of Neno will see a new contractor continuing the road works.

The Roads Authority canceled a contract worth K6 billion this year with China Geo Engineering Corporation over some contractual obligations.

China Geo Engineering Corporation wanted a price adjustment to the initial contract citing issues of devaluation and forex challenges which the government through the ministry of transport and public works denied.

Meanwhile, the people of Neno, like Moses Manda feel the government should also revisit the Asumi bridge which has just been completed under a separate contract by the China Geo Engineering Corporation, saying the bridge will be washed away.

This bridge has no gabion basket and the way we see it though am not an engineer, it shall be left idle like an island there. So we need a quicker rework on it," he warned.

People of Neno heavily depend on agriculture and lack of access to a better road result in failure to have better markets and profit from their sweat.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 20/12/2023

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