By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter
Government has called on rural communities to compile their list of gravel roads that require grading and the amount of fuel needed as part of efforts to rehabilitate passageways ahead of the rainy season.
Speaking during the question and answer session in parliament, on Wednesday, Zanu PF legislator for Mberengwa Central, Tinashe Shumba raised concerns over the navigability of gravel roads in rural areas during the rainy season, most of which link homesteads, clinics and hospitals.
“My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. What is the government policy on re-gravelling rural roads? There is the Rural Rehabilitation Programme.
“They are resurfacing roads, but they are not putting the gravel. During the rainy season, these roads are not accessible yet they lead us to critical public institutions like hospitals and clinics,” said Shumba.
In response, the Minister Of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Felix Mhona invited rural communities to engage the government through Rural Infrastructure Development Agency (RIDA) and Rural District Councils (RDC).
“We have also said and I can say to the August House, now we are thinking of going an extra mile as the Ministry instead of waiting for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
“We are saying let us reason together, do your compilation of the roads that you require to be graded and the amount of fuel that you require so that we start funding for fuel through your rural district council and through RIDA, so that you will also be in a position to rehabilitate your roads before the advent of the rains,” said Mhona.
Gravel roads require constant maintenance and according to Shumba, with the rainy season fast approaching, most rural routes are set to further degrade.
“I do concur with the Hon. Member. We have taken some time to rehabilitate our roads and we find that in the rural constituency where some of us come from, year in and year out, we grade our roads, but some of the roads are now weaker and they require re-gravelling first.
“So I do agree with Hon. Shumba that yes, we can regrade and at the end of the day, you find that upon rains, the road will be in a sorry state again,” the minister said.
Mhona said the government, through research and development, is looking for durable modern technologies to proffer long-term solutions to gravel roads maintenance.
“Going forward, as a Ministry, we are busy through research and development, we are pursuing other contemporary measures to rehabilitate our roads where we can talk of nanoparticle technology where we can mix some of the said and some very important articles so that we have roads that are durable,” said Mhona.