— Airstrip standoff threatens funding in Nchelenge District

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Airstrip standoff threatens funding in Nchelenge District

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Nchelenge, June 2nd, 2014, ZANIS  — Nchelenge District in Luapula Province risks losing out from the civil aviation fund because of the standoff over the management of the airstrip.

 

 

And Saint Pauls Catholic Church Board Chairperson Tassisius Mwansa who also attended the meeting asked for time to consult with the hospital management over the matter.

 

The District Commissioner (DC) Royd Chakaba says government through the aviation department has put aside undisclosed amount of money to expand and refurbish the airstrips in the Province.

 

Mr. Chakaba however said the Catholic Church through the Saint Paul’s Mission Hospital that own and manage the airstrip for the Flying Doctors Medical Services was reluctant to allow a government takeover.

 

He said the government through the civil aviation has indicated its willingness to improve and expand the existing infrastructure of all the airstrips in the province.

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The DC noted that nothing much has been achieved in Nchelenge because of the resistance by the church over the government intent to take over the management of the airstrip.

 

Mr. Chakaba said this during the District Development Coordinating Committee (DDCC) meeting which was held at the Council Chamber today.

 

He urged the DDCC members to engage the church leadership on the way forward before the money is meant for the district is redirected.

 

Mr. Chakaba observed that the airstrip in the area has been encroached and risk being closed if nothing is done to change the status quo.

 

He further said the people have with impunity continued to indiscriminately bury their dead and build houses around the airstrip.

 

And Saint Pauls Catholic Church Board Chairperson Tassisius Mwansa who also attended the meeting asked for time to consult with the hospital management over the matter.

 

Mr. Mwansa said earlier there was donor that had promised to aid the Catholic Church run health facility with funds to rehabilitate the airstrip and that with passage of time the situation could have charged.

 

Meanwhile the District Planning Officer (DPO) for Nchelenge Danny Chibinda has bemoaned the indiscriminate encroachment at the airstrip and said efforts to put a stop to the vice have proved futile.

 

Mr. Chibinda said the local authority had put up posters and radio announcements through the local Radio Station to stop the vice but to no avail.

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