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Delayed UETCL compensation Irks Lwengo residents

The project worth Euros 35 million (151 billion Shillings), partly borrowed from Germany Development Bank (KfW) and the French Development Agency (FDB), involves the construction of a new 135-kilometre double-circuit transmission line stretching from Masaka substation to Mbarara North substation.

 Lwengo, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Dozens of residents, affected by the Masaka-Mbarara power transmission line, are angered by the delays in their compensation by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company-UETCL.

The government through UETCL considered upgrading the 132 KV transmission line between Masaka and Mbarara to 220 KV capacity to provide a high voltage backbone to the proposed interconnection network between Uganda and Rwanda.

The project worth Euros 35 million (151 billion Shillings), partly borrowed from Germany Development Bank (KfW) and the French Development Agency (FDB), involves the construction of a new 135-kilometre double-circuit transmission line stretching from Masaka substation to Mbarara North substation.   

The proposed power line, according to the project design will run through areas of Kingo and Malongo sub-counties, Kinoni, Lwengo and Kyazanga town councils where it will require the destruction of people’s plantations and houses to open the way for the transmission line. However, the Project Affected Persons in Lwengo are angry with the implementing agencies for delaying their compensation.

Yusufu Njako and Erias Mukiibi, both residents of Mbirizi village in Lwengo Town Council explains that upon drawing the project design in 2015, the contractor instructed affected persons to stop utilizing the land within the boundaries. To their dismay, none of them has been compensated.

Eres Mukiibi, another affected person in Mbirizi Trading Centre whose rental houses were earmarked for demolition, accuses the contractor of denying them an opportunity to look at their evaluation forms, which also raised their suspicion on the planned compensation.

Lemegio Kasujja, the chairperson of Namulaba Parish says some of the Project Affected Persons have since died without receiving their compensation. He adds that they are afraid that even descendants may fail to get the money or be undervalued given the confusion that marred the project’s preliminary stages.  

But Josephine Zzalwango, the Project’s Community Liaison Officer says that the responsible agencies are in the final stages of processing the compensation schedule. She says that they had planned to conduct community engagement meetings in areas but were frustrated by the outbreak of Coronavirus.

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