Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The government welcomes individuals to invest in rest houses

At last the government through the Ministry of Transport has finalized its long term strategic plan it had introduced three years ago of setting up rest houses along the main roads countrywide. It has been learnt. A reliable source said early this week in Dar es Salaam that, in the first phase of this development concept, the government has issued a building plan for such houses and has asked interested local individuals to invest. The houses would provide lavatory services to cater for the need of passengers traveling along and will be a permanent solution to a long standing problem facing passengers who takes long hours while travelling in upcountry regions. Acting Director General of the Surface and Marine Transport Agency (SUMATRA) Ahmad Kilima said in a telephone interview when contacted to clarify how far has the government gone to implement the issue for transport stakeholders since it was announced three years ago. Describing the whole planning system, Kilima said that prospective investors are required to contact officials of a designated district council through which a main road pass and enter into contract to facilitate the intended construction. He said that, all drawings for such building looks alike and can be obtained from SUMATRA’s main headquarter office in Dar es Salaam. He said that, a considerable distance of between 50 and 100 kilometers away has been recommended for each building along the road to be constructed off the roadside as per the standard distance set by Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) in order to avoid inconveniences that might occur in future. It can be recalled that, in the past passengers once impressed with a call of nature, and needed to help themselves resort to enter into nearby bushes, a situation described as “Kuchimba dawa”.  The ban against the habit was announced by the Minister for Transport Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe after having realized the magnitude of the problem for causing environmental pollution. He cautioned drivers to immediately call off this habit when presenting his ministry’s budget estimates during the 2012/13 financial year.  But later on had announced temporary stations to be used as brief stop over by transporters to allow passengers to help themselves as the government was looking for a permanent solution. 

The idea of constructing rest houses was introduced since 2010 following a research which was made through the Dar-Iringa-Mbeya-Tunduma road which revealed that passengers on board in a long hour travel receives some difficulties when it comes to relieve themselves from the call of nature. Deputy transport Minister who was in office by then before last President’s ministerial cabinet reshuffle, Dr. Athuman Mfutakamba tabled in Parliament that, Transport ministry would corporate with the ministry of Works who undertakes the construction of upcountry roads and deliberate on the possible measures a factor that could not work. Dr. Mfutakamba noted that, the government could look for donors to help by contributing to this project that aims not only to help the weary passengers, but also get away with the habit of polluting the environment an aspect which has been described to be diminishing people’s dignity. The weary upcountry transport routes which take longer hours for passengers to arrive to their final destination points are routes of Dar-Morogoro-Iringa-Mbeya and Tunduma in southern highland regions which covers about 1,200 kilometers and drivers spends between 15 and 16 hours to arrive to the final destination. Another route is that one of Dar-Morogoro-Dodoma-Singida-Shinyanga-Mwanza in northern regions. The stretch of this road which passes through six regions has 1140 Km and transporters spend between 14 and 15 hours to arrive. Other routes are from Dar-Korogwe-Tanga and Moshi-Arusha in northern circuit and from Dar-Lindi and Mtwara in southern circuit which is are relatively bit shorter and takes about 8 hours only to arrive to the destinations. By considering the length of the journey, passengers must be getting tired and overcome such unavoidable circumstances of the call of nature, Dr. Mfutakamba was quoted as saying.

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