THE construction of the first phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has reached 82 per cent.
Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), Director General, Eng. Masanja Kadogosa told President John Magufuli yesterday that the project so far has employed a total of 13,000 people.
He said the first phase is expected to be completed this year. The Head of State inspected the project from Soga to Kikongo before he proceeded with his journey to Morogoro.
While at Soga President Magufuli led an impromptu fundraising at Soga Primary School, Kibaha Rural constituency where 68.5m/-was raised to renovate the institution in Kibaha District, Coast region.
The President shortly stopped at Soga station along the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in the area in his itinerary tour to inspect progress of the railway project, where he donated 5m/-and ordered for proper expenditures of the funds for the intended goals.
"The money should be spent on the intended project and not otherwise. I'm expecting that the school will be launched on the same day with this SGR project, and there must be value for money observed," he said.
At the event, Dr Magufuli also instructed the minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Eng Isack Kamwelwe and Director General of Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), Mr Masanja Kadogosa to construct a Health Center and supply the area with water especially the Soga station.
This came immediately after he received a request from the Soga Ward Councilor Mr Ramadhani Kilongola, that he intervenes in addressing some challenges they face.
Among other challenges, Mr Chilongola mentioned a decade long land dispute with Mohammed Enterprises, where they claimed the latter had snatched from them irregularly. In response, Dr Magufuli said he would handle the matter personally, but asked them to continue cooperating with the government and contractors of the project so that the schemes are completed and bring development to the villagers.
"I have heard all your concerns including this land dispute issue, but I will handle it myself," he noted.
Other challenges the villagers aired included lack of electricity, poor access to clean and safe water.
Upon completion of the project, President Magufuli said villagers would be allowed to transact businesses at the Soga station to eke out a living without any disturbance.
"Everyone should benefit from this project, the government has invested more than 7tn/-here, and I would also like to thank all of you (villagers surrounding the project) for cooperating with contractors, especially TRC and the ministry from the beginning of this project," said the head of State.
Expounding, he directed the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication to ensure that all sub-contractors are paid on time, saying: "You (ministry) must pay the contractor on time and the same be applied to subcontractors.