TANGA Road Board members have asked President Jakaya Kikwete to intervene in the plan to construct Tanga- Sadani-Bagamoyo tarmac road, which is alleged to have been delayed due to environmental impact reasons.
The question was raised here by Tanga regional Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) chairman, Mr Henry Shekifu, during a Road Board meeting held here yesterday. The meeting was led by Tanga Regional Commissioner, Ms Chiku Gallawa.
Mr Shekifu said that the regional leadership will meet with President Kikwete to negotiate about the matter, to enable the president intervene and expedite the project's implementation.
Earlier, the question was raised about the 175-kilometre long project debating seriously on whether the road should pass through Sadani National Park. The argument came up after the Tanga Region Tanroads manager Alfredy Ndumbalo said that the issue of environment through national park was a delaying factor while implementing the project.
According to Ndumbaro, Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) has insisted that the tarmac road should not pass through Saadan National Park, on ground that it was environmentally unfriendly.
He said following such argument experts from Tanroads and East Africa Community suggested two options whether the road to pass the national park or pass through on condition that a tarmac should only be constructed on either two sides of the park and be connected by rough road through the park.
However, the argument was strongly opposed by the Pangani legislator Salehe Pamba who said that Saadan would not be the first national park in the world through which tarmac road passes.
He said the question of environment was important, but the question of road infrastructure was the most important one, when comes the issue of economic development. According to him there are some countries which tarmac roads have crossed national parks and wondered what should be strange for Tanzania to do so.
He said sometimes the issue of environment could negatively be used by some people who want to hinder the development speed of the country. "If we don't stand firm and allow the suggestion of by-pass I worry whether this project is going to be implemented ... the sponsor can see that the by-pass adds the project cost, thus can simple decide to quit it," he said.
Giving his opinion, Handeni MP Dr Abdala Kigoda urged the members to take the question of environment keenly, because even the donors themselves discuss the matter openly, because the project they sponsor does not pose danger to the environment. The Tanga-Saadani- Bagamoyo road is a project which will be sponsored by the Africa Development Bank (ADB)