600 in Jinja to miss Standard Gauge Railway compensation

Wednesday November 2 2016

Left-Right: South Sudan president Salva Kiir,

Left-Right: South Sudan president Salva Kiir, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and President Museveni launch the SGR project in Kampala. FILE PHOTO 

By ABUBAKER KIRUNDA

Jinja.

Nearly 630 residents in Jinja District who have made way for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will not be compensated until a substantive district land board has been instituted.

Since October last year, Jinja District has not been having a Land Board Committee after its mandate expired.
Attempts to constitute a new one hit a snag following a court and the Inspectorate General of Government (IGG) intervention, citing irregularities in the appointment.

Another move by the district council chaired by Mr Titus Kisambira to hire the services of the neighbouring district land board was defeated in a council meeting.

Speaking last week in Jinja, the Head of public relations and corporate affairs at SGR, Ms Diana Apio, said the multimillion-dollar project could be delayed until this matter is resolved.

She said on their part, all is set except for the small matter of the compensation of the displaced people in eastern Uganda that is now proving to be an issue because the land board that should work out the rates as required by law is not operational.

“The compensation exercise for the affected residents in the districts where the railway line is crossing has been smooth save for Jinja,” Ms Apio said.

She continued: “We have finished the verification but no payment can be done without the land board giving the rates at which payment can be done.’’

To go around this hurdle, considering that construction is commencing before the end of the year, she said they are now planning to get the land board from Buikwe District with the government valuer to do this work.

According to Mr Kyamugambi, transport is a public good and for that matter, it must be affordable, reliable and comfortable across all the classes, particularly lower and middle class.

In an earlier interview, the SGR project coordinator, Mr Kasingye Kyamugambi, described the $2.3billion (about Shs77.5 trillion) project as transformational.

He said the project is in fulfillment of the National Development Plan (NDP) and Uganda Vision 2040.

The government, through the Works and Transport ministry, is spearheading the development of the SGR network with a view to raise the country’s competitiveness and reduce the cost of doing business.

The SGR will be a modern, high-capacity railway system that is efficient, reliable, safe and affordable for both freight and passengers.

Project

The scope. According The network will stretch from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kampala, Kigali and Juba. The project is being implemented as a regional project. Partner states include Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan, which agreed to use a uniform standard specification.

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