The Zambia Environmental Management Agency, ZEMA, has approved six Environmental Impact Assessment reports in Eastern Province.
ZEMA spokesperson, Irene Lungu Chipili confirmed this in a media statement availed to Breeze News this morning.
Mrs. Chipili says that the approvals are based on the information provided for the developments, findings of the site verification inspection and input from authorizing agencies.
Among the projects approved is Electrification of Jerusalem area, Grid Extension for Chikando in Chipata District, Kaulu and Mwanjawanthu areas in Petauke district.
Others are Grid Extension of Matunga and Kanjenza areas in Katete District.
ZEMA has approved a total of 58 projects countrywide.
The agency says that all the approved projects have to start being implemented within three years, as the decision can be withdrawn without notice should a developer fail to comply with laid down conditions and commitments.
The registration of Liquor Stores in the Eastern Province is said to be on the increase in comparison to other businesses being registered by The Patents and Company Registration Agency (PACRA).
Jumbe Kasongo, the Regional Manager for Eastern Province says that they have an average of 8 Liquor Stores being opened on a monthly basis.
He says that ever since PACRA began doing registration at district level through the district councils, they have seen an increase in registration of businesses in the Eastern Province.
And some residents from David Kaunda Area are happy that there has been an increase in the registration of Liqour Stores.
A check by one of our staffers, found that a number liquor stores were already opened and one of the patrons, Solomon Mwanza, said the decision by Government to regulate the operation time for bars was good.
Meanwhile PACRA has dispelled fears that the call to upgrade Chipata district into a city will hike the costs of operating business in the district.
PACRA Regional Manager Jumbe Kasongo says that this will on the contrary be of great advantage because it will attract a number of incentives for the business community.
He says that the call for upgrading implies that a lot of services will be brought closer to the community in Chipata like the Zambia Competition Commission.
Eastern Province is today holding five local government by-elections in Petauke district and one by-election in Lundazi district.
Four by-elections in Petauke come as a result of councillors resigning from MMD, Movement for Multi-Party Democracy while one by-election comes as a result of death.
The wards holding by-elections in Petauke are Mateyo Muzeka Ward, Singozi, Koyane, Mawanda and Ukwimi.
And in Lundazi district, the by-election is taking place in Kajilime Ward, were a councillor lost his seat after being convicted for criminal trespass.
Meanwhile voters in Kapiri Mposhi and Lukulu West have started voting in the two parliamentary by-elections.
The two parliamentary by-elections follow the nullification of the election of Lawrence Zimba as Member of Parliament for Kapiri Mposhi and Misheck Mutelo as Lukulu West Member of Parliament by the Supreme Court on 30th January this year.
Movement for Multi-Party Democracy MMD Provincial youth Chairperson, Chembe Daka has accused former national secretary, Major Richard Kachingwe of being a PF member.
Mr. Daka says that major Kachingwe is being paid by the PF government to demonise the MMD party.
The provincial youth chairperson says that it is difficult to take action against Major Kachingwe as he does not hold any position in MMD.
He challenged Major Kachingwe to visit Eastern Province if he wants to test his popularity.
Major Richard Kachingwe and Catherine Namugala recently visited the Copperbelt province where they demanded that MMD should hold a national convention to choose a new party president because Dr. Nevers Mumba had failed.
A random high blood pressure test conducted by the Ministry of Health in Chipata has revealed that most people are positive.
District Health Officer, Dr. Davy Simwaba has confirmed to Breeze News, stating that the exercise was conducted during the World Health Day Commemoration before last week.
Dr. Simwaba says this could be due to a number of high risk factors like physical inactivity, and a poor diet that may be as a result of the increase of fast food outlets that have been opened in Chipata.
And Dr. Simwaba has expressed concern over the increase of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, stroke and hypertension.
Meanwhile Dr Simwaba reiterated that that the Ministry of Health will soon be launching a vaccine for Pneumonia, which he says has become a big threat to children under the age of 5years.
He says the vaccine will also provide protection against diseases like meningitis and chest infections.
And responding to concerns from members of the public on the lack of ITNs in some Health Centres, Dr Simwaba says that he is aware that Chipata General Hospital does not have ITNs.
He says that there is a shortfall of ITNs in the District and that they are expecting to receive 84 000 ITNs before the end of the second quarter.
Civil Society for Poverty Reduction CSPR has urged the government to help in the maintenance of feeder roads in rural areas of Eastern Province under the link 8000 project.
CSPR Provincial Coordinator, Maxson Nkhoma says that the poor infrastructure and deplorable state of many feeder roads in the province, has caused the province to remain closed in accessing competitive local and international markets.
He says that various agro products cannot be transported to better markets easily due to poor state of feeder roads in various districts of the province.
Mr. Nkhoma has expressed concern over areas such as Chipembere in Kasenengwa Constituency, Madzyatuba and Chipangali areas in Chipangali Constituency, Chitungulu area in Lundazi district as well as Mambwe and Vubwi districts where feeder roads have not received any form of upgrading standard to date.
Mr. Nkhoma says that this has hindered the community from accessing services such as good health facilities, safe and clean drinking water, access to primary and secondary schools.
The CSPR Provincial Coordinator also states that the non-completion of the Chipata- Mfuwe road and the Chipata-Lundazi road, which has taken more than four years to be completed, has worried people in the province.
He hopes that the construction of the two important roads will be completed before the onset of the rains this year.
A thirty-seven year old pregnant woman this morning delivered in an Ox-cart in front of Lundazi District Hospital.
The incident happened within a short period of time after medical staff at Lundazi Urban Clinic referred the woman to Lundazi District Hospital.
The mother-in-law to the woman, Tayson Lukhale explained to Breeze News that her daughter-in-law, Rhoda Mtonga of Kajoola village in Chief Kapichila’s area was turned away at the Urban Clinic and advised to seek medical attention at the district hospital.
And Lundazi District Medical Officer, Dr. Allan Chisenga has confirmed the incident but denied any negligence on the part of medical staff.
Dr. Chisenga says that Ms. Mtonga was referred to Lundazi District Hospital because some pregnancy cases cannot be handled by medical staff at Lundazi Urban Clinic.
He further explained that the incident could have been avoided if Ms. Mtonga had visited the hospital early.
Dr. Chisenga however, revealed that Ms. Mtonga had delivered a bouncing baby boy and would be assisted with transport to get back home.
Government says that it will not tolerate constructors that fail to finish projects within the stipulated schedule.
Petauke administrative officer, Gertrude Zulu says that the PF government wants to deliver development to people as stipulated in its manifesto.
Mrs. Zulu said this when she launched 7th Call Water Project in Petauke district.
She says that once the water project is completed, government hopes that incidences of waterborne diseases will reduce, as people will have access to safe clean drinking water.
And Mrs. Zulu has urged the Petauke District Council to ensure that it does not allocate plots where water facilities have been placed.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Zulu urged residents of Petauke to avoid vandalism and take care of the facilities.
The Ministry of Education has dismissed reports that schools in Eastern Province have not been funded since mid-last year.
Provincial Education Officer, Thomas Mwanza says that government has already released the funding for the first quarter of 2013.
Mr. Mwanza however, explained that some schools could have delayed to receive the money because under the funding each basic and secondary school is expected to open a nif account to access the money.
He explained that the disbursement of the money is being handled by the District Education Board Secretary Offices.
Some school administrators have complained of operational difficulties due to delay by government to release the money.
The administrators indicated that they were even failing to buy chalk, which is supposed to be used by teachers when teaching.
Government says that it has embarked on a number of projects to end the load shedding that has hit the country.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development, Charles Zulu says that government is constructing independent power stations in various parts of the country.
Mr. Zulu told Breeze FM staffer in Lusaka, Naomi Mwimba, that government is expected to commission a High Fuel Oil, HFO independent plant in Ndola in June.
He says that government is also constructing transmission line from leopard hill to Luangwa as well as the construction of Pensulo power line up to Kasama, which will go up to East Africa.
The project is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
The deputy minister says that government is expected to start exporting power to other countries and that load shedding will end by the end of this year when all the lined up projects are completed.