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Government backtracks on K1.1 bilion compensation

Government has backtracked from its initial position spending the K1.1 billion meant for compensation to people whose property was destroyed in road reserves of two roads under construction in Mzuzu City.

Due to limited funding, Mzuzu City Council (MCC) is currently constructing two roads: the Airport-Chiputula-Katawa Road and the Luwinga Industrial Area Road, out of the proposed five.

MCC Roads Project Consultant, Jephter Magunda, said in an interview the engineers resolved that the roads designs be changed to avert compensation.

“When we were doing physibility studies for the roads passing through residential areas, we had to do the valuation of properties in the road reserve which is almost 12 metres from the roads. However, in the Airport- Chiputula-Katawa Road, there are a lot of houses, properties and services that fall within the reserve.

“We agreed with the Council that we don’t have the K1.1 billion meant for compensation of which K400 million goes to people along the Airport-Chiputula-Katawa Road. As designers, we have accommodated the width of the road within the available path so that we can still have good roads with good drainage and service the people without moving them,” Magunda said.

Despite the decision, there are fears that the heavy machinery used in the construction might affect some of the structures some of which are less than one metre away from the road path.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, attributed the situation to limited resources for the roads.

“If you say MCC has received K1.4 billion for the roads out of which K1.1 billion if for compensation, it would mean there is no progress.

“It is better to find alternatives so that at the end of the project, we have the desired structure,” Nankhumwa said.

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