By Luckmore Safuli
THE Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) has expressed concern over ongoing campaigns by some pressure groups aimed at frustrating efforts towards implementation of the multi-billion-dollar Batoka Hydro-Electric power project.
The past few weeks have seen concerted efforts by local and foreign pressure groups to stop the implementation of the 5 billion United States dollar Batoka Hydro-Electric power project on allegations that it poses a threat to the environment and that there were no proper consultations.
ZRA Chief Executive Officer Engineer, Munyaradzi Munodawafa says the authority has observed with concern the campaign aimed at frustrating efforts in the implementation of the project which is of immense socio-economic benefit to Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“ZRA has observed with great concern online public campaigns by some stakeholders aimed at frustrating the efforts leading the sustainable implementation of the multi-billion-dollar 2400 MW hydropower project, which seeks to address the adverse power challenges affecting the people and economic activities in Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as the SADC region as a whole,” he said.
The authority has also dismissed as false alleged threats of violence against people living around the area.
Hwange District Development Coordinator, Mr Simon Muleya says it is unfortunate that some pressure groups continue to raise unfounded allegations on the mega project.
“The authority did carry out some consultations informing the people about the project and there was no violence that was perpetrated on the people. The stakeholders expressed their views freely and the whole process was done in a transparent manner. As Hwange we really welcome the project which is certainly going to ease the electricity challenges in our country,” he said.
A draft Environmental and Social Impact Assessment report was released in March last year and the public has been given an opportunity to submit their concerns on the project.
Public disclosure meetings were also held with all stakeholders including traditional leaders on both sides on the Zambezi River.