Minister of Transport and Public Works, Francis Kasaira Monday visited the Old Airport-Kasiya-Santhe road construction project in Lilongwe District where among other things, he called for a re-assessment of the number of people to be compensated.
The Minister’s visit comes after recent media reports indicated that the project had stalled due to misunderstandings over compensation to communities whose land and property had been affected.
He said it is worrisome to note that K3 billion is said to be needed for compensation alone and wondered how the amount was arrived at.
“This is obviously a lot of money which can be used for other equally important development activities, there is need for a reassessment to establish who really has to be compensated,” said Kasaira.
He said it is surprising to note that even people who have their property and crops within the road reserve are demanding compensation.
The Minister explained that people who are cultivating within the road reserve will not be compensated because the land belongs to government and has since called for proper sensitisation among the communities on how issues of compensation are handled.
“It is government’s wish to have the project completed in time. let us all ensure that we don’t entertain any unnecessary delays towards this project, people should be proud of the road project as it is the longest to be solely funded by government,” he said.
Nyang’amire Ward Councillor Gideon Masache, who is among the leaders in whose area the road passes said most people in his area are already aware that some of the land they are cultivating on belongs to government and will stop cultivating as the construction works progress.
The 90 kilometre road project which started in January last year is being constructed by Mota Engil and is expected to be completed in 2019.
President Peter Mutharika officially launched the project on August 5 last year at Kabudula Trading Centre in the district.