Eighty percent of the Infrastructure works on the Itezhi-Tezhi Power Corporation (ITPC) has been completed and will be handed over to the corporation soon.
And Parliamentary Committee on Land, Water and Energy Chairperson Garry Nkombo says there is need for government to prioritise the construction of the D769 road to enable smooth transportation of sensitive equipment to the construction site.
In a presentation to the Parliamentary committee on energy, Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation Technical Director Kedar Prasad said that over 80 percent of works on infrastructure of the project has been completed except the water supply system.
“80% of infrastructure works that started on 18th April 2011 have been done except for the installation of water system which will be delayed by in two and half months”, said Mr Prasad.
Mr Prasad said that the US$ 236.8 Million ITPC project which is a 50-50 shareholding between Tata and ZESCO will take 42 months to be completed.
He said the construction of 120MW Power plant will take a longer period because the manufacturing of the turbines takes about 26 months plus additional months for transportation and installation
He explained that the infrastructure component involved the construction of 42 housing units, administration building and the construction of water and sewerage system at a cost of US$ 5 million.
He said that ITPC will provide 0.5 percent annually as corporate social responsibility to Itezhi-Tezhi community which is estimated at US$ 220,000 to be used in areas such as education, health, road infrastructure and social activities.
And Parliamentary Committee on Energy Chairperson Garry Nkombo, who is impressed with work progress on the project, said that reconstruction of dilapidated road which links Itezhi Tezhi to Mongu Junction need to be prioritized.
“In view of the economic importance of the project and the fact that that sensitive equipment cannot be transported using the current road, we will recommend to government to priotise the road” he said.
Mr Nkombo said that the reconstruction of D769 road which was constructed in the 1970s should take centre stage in view of the economic importance of the power project to the country.
“ The importance of the reconstruction of the road should take centre stage, other roads like bottom road can wait but this road is very important taking into account that there will be sensitive equipment that will need to be transported for the project using this road ” Nkombo said.
Meanwhile Itezhi Tezhi ZESCO Chief Resident Engineer Moses Mbuta said in a presentation that once the power project is completed power reliability will greatly improve in the district.
“Benefits of the project are that power outages, power reliability will improve and bring significant economic benefits to the district” Mr Mbuta said.
He said that the district will also have adequate power supply because it will increase from the current 1MVA to 10 MVA
He noted that the U$5 million water system being constructed will increase capacity of water supply to 3.6 million litres per day.
He observed that the project will enhance the fishing industry, expand the tourism industry, banking services and contribute immensely to regional power supply through the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP)
And Itezhi Tezhi District Commissioner Roy Nan’galelwa said he was impressed with the space at which Sino Hydro was working at the project.
Mr Nan’galelwa said that if the current pace is maintained, the project will be completed as planned.
He appealed to the government to also prioritise the putting up a filling station in the district
“Lack of a filling station is compromising safety and illegal fuel dealing. People are selling the commodity illegally and it is difficult to stop them as they are filling the gap” he said.
The parliamentary committee toured the construction sites after the presentations from ZESCO and TATA representatives.