Director of railway services Geoffrey Magwede has said government is finalising rescuing old rail-lines between Bangula and Marka in Nsanje to pave the way for a rehabilitation project scheduled to start next month.
The development follows an agreement between Malawi and Mozambique to connect the Bangula-Marka and Mutarara-Villa Nova Fontera railway lines.
Addressing a full council meeting at Nsanje District Council on Thursday, the official said the work,which was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, has cost K368 million.
“However, the work is progressing well. We believe by September this year, the Bangula-Marka and Mutarara railway lines will be joined,” said Magwede.
He said the rehabilitation will cost government $60 million (about K46.2 billion) if old materials are used or $75 million (about K57 billion) if new railway materials are used.
But Nsanje Lalanje legislator Gladys Ganda cast doubt on the time-frame to complete the much-awaited railway line.
“September is just too close, I doubt if the work will be up to standard,” she said.
Senior Chief Tengani and Traditional Authority Chimombo asked the ministry to compensate people who built infrastructure near or across the railway in the district.
Nsanje Central legislator Francis Kasaila echoed the traditional leaders’ sentiments.
But Magwede said encroachers will not be compensated. He said the railway was constructed between 1902 and 1908.