By EDDIE MOSES
THE 2010 Budgetary Allocation of K30 million for routine maintenance of roads in the country has been described as absurd.
Re-elected Kandep MP and Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, Don Polye, vehemently decried the Government's continuous underfunding of road maintenance programs, in light of the horrific road accident in the Markham Valley last Tuesday which left 42 dead.
Media reports claim two 25 seater PMV buses, in their attempt to avoid a pothole while both were travelling at high speed, fatally smashed into each other leaving broken bodies strewn on the roadside and hanging out of the buses.
A visibly distraught Mr. Polye told a media conference on Monday this week that no country in the world continues to fund new infrastructure development without allocating funding for routine maintenance of existing infrastructure." The budgetary allocation is absurd. K30 million cannot give me expected level of maintenance. We need over K300 million for basic routine maintenance," he said.
The Minister said the Department of Works had over 10, 000 km of roads to maintain with 2000kms of these listed as priority. "In fact last Tuesday's fatal accident occurred on one of the roads listed as needing priority maintenance," he said.
The Kandep MP asserted that a submission would be made to Cabinet for additional funding for road maintenance. "I will fight tooth and nail to get that funding," he promised.
Adding to these, Polye stressed that the number one factor in preventing road accidents are the drivers of this country as the first responsibility starts with the human factor. He said that common sense must be used at all times as the human factor very much determined most of the road accidents in this country.
He stated the other two factors, Road worthiness and mechanical soundness of the vehicles and the conditions of the roads themselves were common sense issues that could be resolved with care, maintenance and adequate funding.
The Minister further conveyed the Government and his Ministry's sympathy and condolences to the families of the deceased.