17 January 2019
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Sunday, 02 December 2018 14:21

Rumphi District Council decries illegal construction on public land

Written by  Carren Mumba & Joel Chirwa
Traditional Authority Mwahenga pledging his commitment to fight criminal activities during the meeting - Pic by Carren Mumba Traditional Authority Mwahenga pledging his commitment to fight criminal activities during the meeting - Pic by Carren Mumba

Rumphi, November 29, 2018: Rumphi District Council has asked Traditional Leaders to sensitize their subjects against tampering with public land along Njakwa- Livingstonia Road, saying the tendency is delaying construction of the road.

Director of public works for Rumphi District Council, Allan Chitete made the call during community sensitization on health, safety and environment whistle stop tours at Ng’onga, Tchenachena and Lura, along the road.

Chitete said it is the responsibility of traditional leaders and communities to sustain any development that comes in their areas.

“They (people) claim the land belongs to them and they want to be compensated yet they know it is government owned land, due to this we are taking too long and it delays the work.

“The law is clear that all who had put up structures along road reserve areas are not entitled to compensation. Government gives compensation on humanitarian grounds,” explained Chitete.

Senior Site Inspector of Works for FN & Partners Consultant for the road project, Hastings Shaba disclosed in an interview that compensation of people affected by the project, is almost complete.

“We are almost done with the compensation program. Almost 99.9 per cent of those who had been entitled to compensation have received.

“If there are people who had been missed they are urged to process their claims at the office of District Commissioner, “said Shaba.

Rumphi Police Officer In-Charge, Denis Banda urged traditional leaders to take responsibility in curbing issues of theft and vandalism for the sake of quality.

“Projects of this nature are design to have specific costs. Say for example where 1000 bags of cement will be used, it will be known how many culverts and bridges will be made and constructed.

“Then some of you happen to connive with some workers there to divert 500 bags of cement. It will mean the whole work will be compromised. You need to have a sense of ownership and report all those involved to police,” said Banda. 

Chitete also urged those who have been compensated but still clinging to their old places to relocate.

“We do not want to force you out through demolition of your property. We don’t want to do that,” he said.

Land and Social Expert, Davie Chilonga on behalf of Mota Engil which is constructing the Njakwa- Livingstonia Road said the criminal activities have affected the operations of the company.

“Vandalism and theft are on rise in these construction areas which is affecting the progress of work but now we are going to involve the police to help us in arresting these people,” said Chilonga.

Meanwhile Traditional Authority Mwahenga has said he will take part in helping to sensitize his subjects not to be involved in any malpractice.

“We have heard what you have said and as T/A, I will help to sensitize my people and bring into book who ever will be found in such acts,” Mwahenga said.

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