Representatives from the Mehta Group were on Tuesday taken on a ground tour of Buganda Kingdom land offered for sugarcane growing by Kabaka Ronald Mutebi to Lugazi Sugar Works.
A team led by the Buganda Kingdom’s Economic Planning and Development Minister Rajni Taylor, took the Mehta Group representatives to three of 10 possible areas available for use in Mukono District.
Kabaka Ronald Mutebi offered the land as an alternative to the disputed 7,100 hectares of the Mabira Central Forest that President Museveni in August said should be handed to Scoul. In 2007, the Kabaka made a similar offer following the April 2007 Mabira demonstrations.
The Mehta delegation, led by Mr P.M. Ndikusooka, was taken to the areas of Magonga-Kizzi Kibi, Nakiguddo and Jjumba in Nabbaale Sub-county, Mukono District, where over 44 square miles of land was viewed. Buganda Land Board publicist Saul Katumba said the two delegations resolved to meet in 30 days when the Mehta Group is expected to acknowledge or decline the land offer.
“We had lined up 10 more areas to show them, but the delegation said the land in the three areas we visited was more than sufficient,” Mr Katumba said.
The visit is the first sign of a search for land options by the Mehta Group.
Last month, Scoul General Manager Suresh Sharma told this newspaper the organisation was not interested in the Kabaka’s offer because the lands were occupied by squatters and Bibanja holders. The Kingdom’s Lands minister Kabuuza Mukasa, however, said no one from the Group had shown interest in the property.
The Mehta delegation said it would take the opportunity to pick soil samples and survey the properties before making a decision. The tour followed a series of meetings between representatives of the Mehta Group and Buganda Kingdom officials. On Thursday last week both parties resolved to make spot visits of the offered properties.
“We want to assure the Mehta Group that we are serious about this offer, and that these properties are available for their use,” Mr Katumba added.