China Railway 20(CR20) has suspended the construction of Nsanje-Marka Road following compensation claims from community members.
The misunderstandings led to demonstrations by people on Friday and Saturday at the contractor’s camp.
In an interview, the concerned citizens’ representative Mike Chabote said he was pleased with the suspension of the project to pave the way for discussions.
He said they wrote the district council and the contractor on April 9 2021 that the contractor should pay about 200 people for “borrow pits” and “trees”, but nothing happened.
“They have promised to come back to us on Wednesday [today] to evaluate our property such as land and trees,” said Chabote.
However, he admitted receiving compensation from CR20 which he said was little.
On his part CR20 project manager Ghuo Zhinan said the misunderstandings are delaying the project.
“We compensated the people. I am surprised to see them demonstrating against us,” he said.
Zhinan alleged that two people based in Blantyre mobilised community members to seal their offices on Friday and Saturday, claiming the compensation was not sufficient.
“Yet, the company paid everyone who deserved the compensation in the presence of their traditional leaders,” he said.
Senior Chief Malemia, who is Roads Authority(RA) board member, said the authority’s chief executive officer Engineer Emmanuel Matapa advised to suspend the project until the compensation issue is resolved.
He refuted the allegation that some chiefs, including himself, pocketed K1 million each at the expense of their subjects.
The K11.1 billion road project started in 2018 and was expected to be completed by March 17 this year, but has delayed due to late payments from government.