The Roads Authority (RA) at the weekend came under pressure from community members affected by the Liwonde-Mangochi Road project who demanded compensation for their damaged property and trees.
The Balaka and Mangochi communities expressed their concern during sensitisation meetings the authority organised to urge them to voluntarily relocate from road reserve areas to avoid loss of property.
The communities said they had waited for compensation for a long time, with some demanding that construction works be suspended until all payments are made.
According to RA’s social specialist John Ng’ambi, 612 people have been affected and the total value of their property was pegged at K920 million. Government has since paid compensation for all the properties.
However, Ng’ambi said government is yet to pay 1 000 people for trees valued at K300 million.
RA spokesperson Portia Kajanga pleaded with the communities to be patient as their money was being processed.
“The process is not as easy as you may think. There is a lot of paperwork involved, so many offices involved, including the Roads Fund Administration and the Ministry of Finance,” she said.
However, both district commissioner Rodrick Mateauma and village head Kalembo of Balaka urged the community members to support the project.
“This project is very important to us as it will help ease our transportation challenges,” Kalembo said.
The K29.5 billion African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded project, which starts from Kamuzu Barrage in Liwonde to Bakili Muluzi Bridge at Mangochi Boma, started in August 2016 under the Nacala Road Corridor Development Phase 4.
Mota Engil site engineer Wakisa Gondwe said they are doing everything possible to beat the August 2018 target for its completion.