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Fight over gravel stalls road construction

BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA

CONSTRUCTION of a three-kilometre West Road in Tshovani Township, Chiredzi, funded by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) was halted for two weeks after Chiredzi Rural District Council denied the contractor permission to extract gravel in the district.

The road project started in December last year, but is still in its first stages.

Initially, Chiredzi Town Council chairperson Gibson Hwende skirted the issue of gravel when residents raised their concerns, but when pressed further said there was a little misunderstanding over extraction of gravel, which has since been resolved.

“There are a lot of factors that led to the project to miss its deadline. The project was supposed to be complete by the first week of February, but now it may be completed in March. First it was the festive season, then the stayaway, and later it was the fuel problem. All these caused the delay in the completion of the roa d,” Hwende said.

When pressed further, Hwende said it was just a little misunderstanding over gravel.

“Yes, I know that there was a little mix-up because the contractor was extracting gravel behind Chitsanga Hill, which is in the jurisdiction of Chiredzi RDC. Some payments were supposed to be done before the extraction of that gravel just like what we normally do to the Environmental Management Agency. I am not aware off hand how much was finally paid, but I am happy the issue was resolved amicably,” he said.

Chiredzi RDC chief executive officer, Isaac Matsilele, seemed agitated when reached for comment.

“Who told you that we had an issue concerning gravel? Is it the Chiredzi town clerk or the contractor? If it’s the contractor let me tell you that we don’t deal with the contractor directly, but the local government that gave him work to do.,” Matsilele said.

Source : NewsDay

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