Business at Nsungwi Market in Lilongwe came to a standstill on Thursday following the demolition of commercial buildings erected in the road reserve of the Area25-Nsungwi-Dzenza Road by Lilongwe City Council (LCC).
LCC spokesperson Tamara Chafunya said the exercise, carried out on Wednesday night, followed a series of warnings and sensitisation meetings with the community to move away which yielded nothing.
“We sent them letters to move more than twice but they did not comply. Knowing that this would affect the project time-frame and budget, we went ahead to demolish the buildings for construction to proceed,” she said.
However, one of the traders at the market, Moses Mwimba, said the council needed to give the shop owners enough time to relocate.
“We are not against the road construction works but our concern is that things have been done too fast. At least people should have been given enough time to relocate,” said Mwimba.
Last year, some concerned Area 25 residents petitioned LCC to consider upgrading the dusty road to bitumen standard.
The 3.5-kilometre road being constructed by Mota Engil starts from the Area 49, 50 and Kanengo junction in Lilongwe City and extends westwards passing through Nsungwi Trading Centre up to Dzenza area.
Works on the K1.2 billion road project involves upgrading of the existing earth road to class I bitumen standard road with 6.9 metres carriageway and 1.5 metres single sealed shoulders on both sides. Reacting to the commencement of the works in April this year, James Ziba, an Area 25 Sector 7 resident, urged government to stick to its budget and time-frame for the road.