Govt advises ZRA to access title deeds Batoka Hydroelectric Scheme (HES) Project
Livingstone, February 27, 2014 ZANIS——— Government has advised the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to ensure it obtains title for the land housing the Batoka Hydroelectric Scheme (HES) Project.
Mines, Energy and Water Development minister , Christopher Yaluma says this was imperative as it would give ZRA, the basis on how best to deal with communities that would be affected by the project.
The project is expected to generate about 1, 600 Mega Watts of power once it became operational.
He stressed the need for members of the affected communities around the project site to benefit if they ZRA expected to get maximum cooperation from them.
“People must benefit from the set-up of this place and the benefits should go beyond employment if you as ZRA expect to get maximum cooperation from them,” he said.
Mr. Yaluma said this in Livingstone, during an inspection of the Batoka Hydroelectric Site with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Dzikamai Mavhaire, in Livingstone on yesterday.
Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa and her Zimbabwean counterpart, Partson Mbiriri, ZRA Chief Executive Munyarazi Munodawafa and other senior government officials from Zambia and Zimbabwe were also present at the event.
The inspection was done ahead of the 31st Council of Ministers Meeting between Zambia and Zimbabwe which opened in Livingstone on Thursday, to ascertain whether an access road to the northern bank of the project site had been put in place.
The Minister further urged the authority to utilize the services offered by the Office of the Attorney General from both countries to analyze all legal aspects of the project and address them in a timely manner.
And ZRA Chief Executive, Munyarazi Munodawafa said he had taken note of Mr. Yaluma’s concerns.
Mr. Munodawafa said an Environmental Social Impact Assessment and Feasibility Study would be undertaken and these would address land issues and identify people who may be displaced due to power lines that would be put up in their areas.
“You did well to bring up that issue. With the 1992 Feasibility Study undertaken on this project before it stalled, the social impact assessment did not consider that.
“ But this time, we will ensure that everything is taken into consideration as some people may be displaced, due to power lines that will pass through their area,” he said.
Earlier, ZRA Manager for the Batoka Hydropower Project Kasaro Ezekiel said about 3, 000 to 5, 000 jobs skilled and semi-skilled jobs would be created.
Mr. Kasaro said the project would bring a lot of development to the two countries as two townships on both sides project would be built to accommodate people who will operating there and traders.
“By impounding the valley, we will generate another source for more fish to breed in the lake like it is at Kariba. Instead of just having fish from Kariba, we will also have fish from the Victoria Falls and this calls for support from both the Zambian and Zimbabwean government,” he said.
The Batoka Hydroelectric Scheme Project is expected to be completed by 2021 and will be located across the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe upstream of the existing 1470 Mega Watts Kariba Dam hydroelectric scheme.