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By Times of Zambia

THE Government will work on roads and bridges to open up rural areas for economic development, President Rupiah Banda has said.

Speaking after touring the K13.5 billion Kalungu bridge project on the road leading to Paramount Chief Chitimukulu’s palace yesterday, Mr Banda said good roads and bridges were a prerequisite for development.

He said that the Government wanted to improve bridges and roads to link up various places so that people could freely move and carry out various development activities without any hindrance.

He said the construction of Kalungu Bridge on the Kalungu River, a tributary of the Chambeshi River would enable the people to cross the river and move their goods for sale in Kasama from Mungwi and other areas.

Consequently, he said, the project would trigger other economic activities for the benefit of the people in the area.

He said that from a layman’s point of view, Rankin Engineering Consultants who were carrying out the works had performed well and he hoped that the bridge would last long as assured by the contractor.

Mr Banda, who was accompanied by Works and Supply Minister, Mike Mulongoti, Local Government Minister, Benny Tetamashimba, Tourism Minister, Catherine Namugala, Presidential Affairs Minister, Gabriel Namulambe and some deputy ministers, was taken on a conducted tour of the project by Road Development Agency (RDA) northern regional engineer, Chapwe Tumelo.

According to the contractor’s site engineer, Frankson Sakala, the project which started in September last year, was expected to be complete at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, President Rupiah Banda has thanked the people of Northern Province for the support given to him during the October 30, 2008 presidential election.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Paramount Chief Chitimukulu at his palace yesterday, Mr Banda said he would not have won the presidency without support from the Northern Province.

The president said it was the aggregate votes from all the provinces, including where he did not do well, which made him get the highest number of votes.

Mr Banda also called on traditional rulers to work closely with the Government to develop the country.

He wished the Paramount Chief of the Bemba who recently returned from South Africa for medical attention, good health saying the nation needed him so much.

He assured him that the Government would take care of his trip back to South Africa for medical review in three months’ time saying Government had the responsibility to assist traditional rulers whenever they were in need.

Mr Banda said Northern Province was dear to his administration and, hence, his decision to undertake a conducted tour of the province first.

Earlier, Chief Chitimukulu paid tribute to the Government for its support when he was taken to South Africa for specialised medical attention.

Before flying to the palace, MAairport, which had been worked on by the Government.
He was particularly happy that a provision had been made for the physically challenged people to move smoothly.