Sunday November 20 2011

Heavy rains wash away Pallisa roads, cut off districts

By Mudangha Kolyangha


Following torrential rains that have pounded the east for nearly a year now, several roads in parts of  eastern region have been damaged, rendering tranpsort for hundreds of people difficult.

The lastest being Pallisa, which was on Friday cut off from its neigbours after the rains washed away   two bridges on the main roads. The roads cut off are  connecting Tirirnyi-Pallisa,that connects it to Mbale, Pallisa-Kumi, Pallisa-Mbale via Kamonkoli. Other areas affected by the rains are Teso region, Karamoja and Bugisu.

Mr Issa Taligola, the Pallisa LC5 chairman, said two bridges at Nangaiza, Limoto and Namayembe collapsed this week rendering the road users to seek alternative routes that can connect them to the district.

At Nangaiza Bridge, motorists are alternatively using Kamuge-Butebo-Gogonyo before connecting to Pallisa. Some motorcyclists still use the frail bridge, which is risky, according to Mr Taligola.

“We can’t do much as a district because local governments get little funds under the road sector and is the reason that many roads in the district are in sorry state and this not only embarrasses the district leaders but also the government,” Mr Taligola said. “This is giving a wrong image to the voters,” he added.

During his campaign trail in the eastern region early this year, President Museveni pledged to upgrade the 68km stretch from Tirinyi-Pallisa-Kumi and Pallisa-Kamonkoli roads. However, government is yet to come good to their promises and now the business community is crying foul.

“The entire business community from Teso which has been using this alternative route via Pallisa is now finding it harder to pass via Mbale because of the transport costs. It’s now to expensive,” Mr Taligola explained.

Also affected is Namiyembe Bridge on the Kakoro-Kabawangasi Road.
Moses Tangu, a taxi driver operating on Tirinyi-Pallisa roads, said they are planning to protest over what they described as “manhole” roads that is making their business more expensive since they have to spend more on transport costs.

The bad roads have prompted a hike in transport fares from Shs2,000 to Shs2,500 from Tirinyi to Pallisa to cover up the soaring maintenance that they incur.

According to the Ministry of Works, about Shs45 billion is needed to rehabilitate some of the roads that were recently washed away by torrential rains. The Uganda National Roads Authority corporate affairs manager, Mr Dan Alinange, said the Tirinyi-Pallisa-Kumi road was not included in this financial year’s budget.