Vungu Dam Construction behind schedule

By Bruce Chahwanda

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development is disappointed by lack of progress in the construction of Vungu Dam in Silobela ,despite the contractor having received US$2.4 million from government.

In a bid to create a greenbelt in Silobela area of Midlands province, the Second Republic disbursed an initial funding of US$2.4 million towards the construction of the dam, which is expected to irrigate 1 200 hectares of land upon completion.

This led the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator, Honourable Justice Mayor Wadyajena to embark on an assessment tour of the project with a view to ascertain progress made so far.

“The project is set to benefit a number of families. We anticipate to irrigate 1 200 hectares of land and the dam capacity is 118 million cubic metres,” said Hon Wadyajena.

Six months after receiving the initial payment, Grindale Engineering, the company contacted for the dam construction project, is behind schedule.

“We hired some of the equipment and with the initial payment. We also managed to buy equipment for the construction of the dam. We are very much behind schedule. We expect government to release more money,” said Engineer Grison Muvidzi of Grindale Engineering.

The development has infuriated legislators who have been left with more questions than answers.

“We are disappointed by the contractor. Failure to deliver the project on time means communities will be deprived of the benefits. The project is supposed to be at 10%, but it’s a 3%, which is not good enough. What is shocking is that the company has no track record in dam construction. This is retrogressive considering government is pushing that no one and no place must be left behind,” said the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chair.

The US$87 million project is expected to be complete in 36 months, but legislators feel the government’s infrastructure development agenda could be derailed by incompetent companies.