Government has begun earthworks on the K50 billion ($69.4 million) Njakwa-Livingstonia-Chitimba Road Project in Rumphi without compensating some individuals living along the construction sites, The Nation has established.
The project seeks to upgrade the 100-kilometre earth road to bitumen standard.
During a media tour on Saturday, it was observed that about 500 people on the road risk losing property as graders are clearing gardens and compounds in readiness for construction.
One of the affected residents from Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwalweni in the district, Ruth Thenda, said the graders have cleared her garden without giving her compensation.
She said the graders have also cleared all land around her house, leaving her isolated from the rest of the community.
“I expected government to compensate us first before beginning any work. They need to relocate us away from the site. Otherwise, the dust poses as a health risk to us,” said Thenda.
Minish Chigombera at Lura said his shop has been marked for demolition, but he has not received any compensation.
In an interview, Minister of Transport and Public Works Malison Ndau assured the locals of full compensation, saying government was waiting for the passing of budget to allocate them some funds.
“I want to assure them that they should wait patiently, they will be compensated,” he said.
However, Ndau accused some of the locals of frustrating the relocation exercise by refusing to move away from the sites.