Infuriated villagers from T/A Mlauli in Neno have closed a railway line and an earth road going to Neno Boma to force dominant Portuguese engineering company, Mota-Engil to fulfill pledges they made to people in the district.
Vale Mining of Brazil is the one that has offered the contract to the Portuguese who have crowded Malawi’s construction industry.
The villagers barricaded the road and railway line with stones and tree trunks forcing locomotives and vehicles going to Neno Boma being turned away at Bauleni Village where the railway cuts the road to Neno Boma.
Villagers accuse Vale and Mota Engil for not fulfilling their pledge to build a bridge at Bauleni Village, local schools and hospitals.
Mlauli Area Development Committee chairperson, Jonas Goliati said the villagers were not happy that Vale is scheduled to conclude their project in this area next month without fulfilling their pledges.
The villagers are also demanding compensation for people whose houses were damaged in the course of constructing the railway line which passed the district.
Malawi Government and Vale signed a $1 billion (K168 billion) deal for the construction and rehabilitation of the railway that will transport 18 million tonnes of coal from Mozambique, hiring about 5,000 workers 70 percent being Malawians.
The 145 kilometre railway is part of the Nacala Corridor, a facility for transporting mining products from the Moatize Coal Mine in Mozambique which is operated by Vale.
Vale Logistics, a subsidiary of mining giant Vale, will build a new line from Chikhwawa in the South to meet an existing line in Balaka, rehabilitate the 98.6 kilometre of the existing link between Nkaya and Nayuchi.
This would in turn lead to a 24 hour delivery of cargo to either Nacala or Limbe and an annual goods tonnage of over 5 million tonnes.