By Draxon Maloya
Harvesting of trees is reported to have disrupted the supply of portable water from one of the dams in Chikangawa Forest to households under Group Village Headman, Simon Bondera Nyirenda and Chikangawa Health Center in Mzimba District.
Group Village Headman Simon Bondera Nyirenda has since lodged a complaint through the media.
“The situation is now becoming very unbearable since residents and guardians at the Health Center have been walking very long distances to fetch water from some boreholes and springs which are not reliable, the water supply had has been disrupted by heavy machinery Raiply Malawi Limited is using to harvest trees along the M1-Road.
“If Raiply could consider fixing the damaged water pipes in time the better but they don’t even care that people are suffering waking up very early in the morning trying to fetch for water provided they are doing business,” fumed Nyirenda.
Nyirenda also wondered how Raiply Malawi Limited could start harvesting from plots whose trees were planted in 1994 leaving out those planted way back in 1964 which are now just falling and rotting hence losing out a lot of financial resources.
Responding to the accusations in a separate interview, Raiply Malawi’s Public Relations Officer, Dalitso Chimwala expressed ignorance with matter saying he even don’t know on which plot the company is harvesting trees at the moment.
“I am not presently aware of the compartments being harvested, I need to find out before commenting, however, if indeed we have damaged water supply pipes, the company will repair those.
“As for the choice of trees, Raiply harvests according to production requirements.
It could be we are looking for a specific species to meet production standards to the products we want to produce for a specific need,” Chimwala said.
However, Chimwala also revealed of a good working relationship his company has with communities in and around Chikangawa Forest.
“Let me add that we enjoy good relationship with surrounding villages, if the headman had brought this to the attention of the company, remedial measures would have been taken by now and I will therefore make a follow-up in the and ensure supply is restored after quick repairs by our engineers,” He said.
There have been misunderstandings among stakeholders working in Chikangawa Forest on how government has granted concessions to some investors producing timber for different purposes.
Early this year members of the Reformed Timber Millers Union (RTMU) led by it’s chairperson, Paul Nthanbazale met State Vice President, Saulos Chilima in Lilongwe to iron out some of the issues that have been bringing misunderstandings between stakeholders working in the Africa’s largest man made forest.