Hwange expansion project: 480 households to be relocated

By Tinashe Mungazi

Over 480 households in Hwange face relocation to accommodate the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) stage 7 and 8 expansion project, CITE has learnt.

The USD1.4 billion project being undertaken by Chinese contractor, Synohydro Corporation is set to see the construction of a 310km power transmission lines which will displace 80 households along the corridor.

A further 400 households at Ingagula, a suburb next to ZPC power station will require relocation to avoid air pollution from the electricity generation activities.

The relocation which will include compensation especially for those living along the power line corridor are anticipated to cost a total of USD62.5m.

Briefing the minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Matebeleland North, Richard Moyo during a tour of the station to assess progress yesterday, Project Site manager, Engineer Forbes Chanakira said there were seized with the issue of relocations brought in by the project.

“There are around 80 households that are going to be displaced by the construction of the power line. We have engaged them and we have already done models of houses for them so the end of this month our contractors are on the ground constructing new houses for them so once those houses are completed they will move to the new place and we demolish those houses. We will further compensate them for their trees, gardens, kraals and so forth. There are about 80 households along the whole corridor. We have not yet established the exact cost but we estimate it to be around USD2.5m. On the Ingagula issue there are more than 400 households we are not yet clear on exact costing as we are doing the tenders to procure the contractors who will do the construction so as of now we have a budget figure of more than USD60m, ” said Eng Chanakira.

He, however, argued that they were not likely to relocate the Ingagula residents in time of commissioning of the first unit owing to funding constraints before appealing to government for intervention.

For safety reasons, the construction of settlements within a 60 meters near a power line is not allowed as they is a likelihood of exposure to electromagnetic radiation which is lethal to human health.

The new 310km 400kV line is going to be transmitting electricity from Hwange to Bulawayo alongside the existing infrastructure which will be there to support the new one as part a strategy to facilitate the evacuation of the additional power load.

Eng. Chanakira said they had since secured land from Hwange Local Board to build houses with the process of procurement underway.

“We have already secured the land from council they have been opening up the roads for us we are in the process of procuring the bulk materials such as rigs, quarry and riversand that will be used in construction.”

The project is now 64.63 percent complete with adjusted timelines indicating that that unit 7 is expected online in January next year after missing the scheduled April timelines due to COVID-19 and delay in contractual payments.

The project is envisaged to improve power supplies and reduce the import bill of electricity from other countries. Zimbabwe is currently grappling with power outages generating 1323MW against a demand of 2 200MW and has to outsource from neighbouring countries.

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