‘Re­jected’ Gwanda trans­mit­ter tower gets the nod

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Richard Muponde Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent

A GWANDA trans­mit­ter tower which for­eign en­gi­neers once deemed un­fit for dig­i­tal trans­mis­sion was yes­ter­day given a thumbs up by lo­cal en­gi­neers. The de­vel­op­ment will save the Gov­ern­ment more than $500 000. The trans­mis­sion site was part of 11 sites which had been con­demned by en­gi­neers that the Gov­ern­ment con­tracted from out­side the coun­try.

The Min­istry of Me­dia, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices en­listed the ser­vices of a lo­cal en­gi­neer­ing com­pany, Arup En­gi­neer­ing Con­sul­tants, to seek a se­cond opin­ion.

En­gi­neer Priv­i­lage Dzadagu did the as­sess­ment yes­ter­day and gave the tower a green light for op­er­a­tion.

Sites in In­siza, Vic­to­ria Falls and Tsholot­sho were also con­demned for struc­tural de­fects and work has al­ready com­menced at In­siza and Tsholot­sho to re­place con­crete foun­da­tions.

Speak­ing dur­ing a tour of the site yes­ter­day, the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Me­dia, In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices, Mr George Charamba, said he was re­lieved to learn that the Gwanda trans­mis­sion site was ready to host the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion equip­ment. This tower was one of the 11 sites which had been con­demned by en­gi­neers whom the Gov­ern­ment had hired from out­side the coun­try. How­ever, we then en­gaged lo­cal en­gi­neers to get a se­cond opin­ion and I’m happy to hear that the tower can host the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion equip­ment. We needed about $600 000 to re­place it. We can now chan­nel re­sources to build­ing new ones else­where,” said Mr Charamba.

He said the prob­lem with the Gwanda trans­mit­ter tower was that part of it was rusty due to lack of main­te­nance over the years.

“This tower was built by Rhode­sians but the en­gi­neers said only the top part, which we were go­ing to re­move any­way when in­stalling the an­ten­nas, was cor­roded,” said Mr Charamba.

“This means that this site is suit­able. This one is dif­fer­ent from oth­ers as it doesn’t sit on pedestals. It is an­chored by guy ropes which should be lu­bri­cated reg­u­larly with grease so that they won’t rust.

“We didn’t do well in the past but we have learnt. Pulling down the tower was go­ing to take un­bud­geted re­sources. We don’t talk about re­sources only. It was also go­ing to dis­ad­van­tage com­mu­ni­ties which have thou­sands and thou­sands of lis­ten­ers and view­ers as it was go­ing to be switched off.”

Gov­ern­ment is set to dig­i­talise and move away from the ana­logue sys­tem.

Once the coun­try has places that are com­pli­ant to dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and set top boxes, they will be switched on, mean­ing that the switch­ing on pro­grammes will be stag­gered. — @richardmuponde

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