Members of Parliament have been startled by the huge amounts of money paid in compensation to residents where road construction projects are going on.
The MPs on physical infrastructure parliamentary committee were in western Uganda monitoring rehabilitation works on Mbarara-Ntungamo- Katuna road and other roads and bridges.
MPs heard that more than Shs9 billion was spent on compensating residents near the road despite some of these residents having encroached on the road reserves. The MPs were meeting with UNRA officials at Rwentobo Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) camp on Friday. Bukanaga County MP Steven Kangwagye said that is tantamount to double compensation.
However, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) spokesperson Dan Alinange said whereas the road works on the Mbarara-Ntungamo- Katuna highway had began without compensating residents because UNRA thought they did not deserve compensation, they sued government and secured an injunction halting the works.
“When we were taken to court and the contractor forced to stop, we went everywhere in all government records; Lands ministry, the Uganda lands and other registration agencies but there were no records showing that these people had been compensated prior. There was also no record of the existing road reserves,” Mr Alinange told the MPs.
MPs said they will present the matter to Parliament but also recommended that UNRA, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Works and Transport and other responsible agencies work together to have the road reserves marked, recorded and maintained by securing land titles and planting there trees.
“Poor government records are causing unnecessary compensation, we urge you as UNRA to have proper records, mark and secure land titles for our road reserves such that they are not encroached on,” said Mr Ephraim Biraaro, the committee chairperson.
The committee commended the good work by RCC on the road. They, however, noted slow progress, poorly worked on points especially corners and climbing lanes, environment degradation and blockage of access points especially in trading centres.
After commissioning a 1.2km road donated to the Community of Rubare Town Council by RCC, the MPs visited the Katuna, Uganda- Rwanda boarder post, Mitaano Bridge in Kanungu District that collapsed in 2012 and several other roads in the Ntungamo, Kabale, Rukungiri and Kanungu districts to ascertain their state.