East Road Works Progress but …

ROAD transport is one of the most promising and potent means for rapid industrialisation and agricultural aancement. It plays an important role in the social economic development of any country.

Good roads facilitate the aancement in the economy of a country through the transportation of goods and services to markets and vice-versa and they simultaneously facilitate communication.

In rural areas, good feeder roads enhance the transportation of agro produce to markets and farming inputs to farmers among other goods and services.

In Zambia, however, the poor state of roads is one of the major factors that hamper development as it is difficult to transport goods and services from areas of production to markets and vice-versa.

The poor state of feeder roads in most rural areas negatively affect the growth of the agriculture sector as many farmers opt to sale their produce at lower prices within their localities as opposed to transporting it to markets where the prices may be favourable.

This is why government prioritised the construction and rehabilitation of feeder roads in rural parts of the country.

In Eastern Province, a number of gravel roads in Petauke and Lundazi districts are receiving a facelift with support from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Recently, Provincial Permanent Secretary Chileshe Mulenga was in the two districts to monitor the road works that were funded by the Department of Housing and Infrastructure Development (DHID) under the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

In Lundazi district where six feeder roads were under transformation, Dr Mulenga was disappointed with the quality of the works and expressed concern that the local authority was not able to supervise the works.

Dr Mulenga noted that a number of culverts on the D103Kapekesa road were not done to the required specifications as outlined in the agreed terms of the contract.

“The road is too narrow and cannot accommodate two vehicles, because of this, a vehicle has to be packed on the side in order to allow oncoming vehicles to pass,” he said.

Dr Mulenga observed that the works that had been done on the 23.9 kilometers D103-Pikamalaza-Chashe road were not adequate as the road needed a total facelift.

“What was required was construction of the road and not spot improvement because there is no road to improve and there is lack of commitment by the contractor because the contractor demobilised without following procedure.

“The council will have to discuss this with the contractor if works are to be improved, I also note that survey of the road by the council was not done,” he said.

Acting Lundazi District Council Secretary, Francis Muunyu said the local authority was not able to supervise the road works due to lack of transport as the council only had one vehicle for all its operations.

Mr Muunyu said the contractor Infasim Construction Company demobilised during the Christmas period and had not returned even after two months.

He noted that the same contractor is also working on the Border road, Chibwe School, Chinyeni at the cost of K1.4 million.

However, the D103-Pikamalaza would be completed at the cost of K2.8m.

When he inspected five culverts on the border of Chibwe School and Chinyeni roads, the Permanent Secretary observed that the culverts were badly done as there were cracking while water had silted on others.

Dr Mulenga said the poor quality works on the Chasefu-Nsananga road were 80 per cent done.

He urged the local authority to inspect the road works because contractors had a tendency to dubiously reduce the cost of works by doing shoddy works.

“If there is no supervision, they get away with it and it is becoming a big cost to government, so we want to ensure that good quality works are done,” he said.

He said it was sad that most of the road projects were behind schedule and called for the need to speed up the works.

On the four-kilometers T3-Minga Mission road under construction in Petauke district, under Tervium construction, Dr. Mulenga reiterated his calls for the councils to supervise the road works and ensure that all works are done in line with specifications in the Bill of Quantities.

Deputy District Works Supervisor, Prince Muntapuka said Tervium construction company had gone ahead to dump gravel which was not approved by the council.

Mr Muntapuka had stopped the contractor from dumping the poor quality materials for the road works and noted that grading and compaction of the four-kilometres stretch had been done while, installation of culverts was underway.

But Dr Mulenga said it was unfortunate that the company had failed to abide by the simple basic rules and that most of the culverts were not properly done.

” I doubt if this contractor has technical staff because apart from the poor works, the gravel that has been secured for gravelling of the road is full of stones, the council has to make sure that the material is approved for the works,” he said.

DHID Engineer, Abraham Banda, noted that the council was supposed to test and approves specific materials before the contractor could start using it for the works.

Mr Banda noted that there was a gap as some contractors did not follow the guidelines but opted to continue carrying out works that were not approved by the council.

He also observed that the road formation had been lost saying the width of the road could not been seen.

Dr Chileshe also inspected the K5.2m T4-Merwe, K6.2m T4-Kasusu school roads that are supposed to be upgraded to gravel level.

He noted that installation of some culverts was well done and hoped that other road works would be well done on the T4-Kasusu school and Milanzi community school road.

The Permanent Secretary warned that he would not hesitate to recommend for cancellation of contracts when contractors fail to meet contractual obligations because government was investing colossal sums of money into rehabilitation and reconstructions of feeder roads in order to ease the transportation of goods and services, which he said would lead to economic social development of the province.

It is important that all stakeholders get involved in monitoring of all developments in their localities as such developments are meant to benefit them.-ZANIS

Source : The Times of Zambia

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