22 November 2017

Uganda: Tororo Residents Reject Govt Land Valuation

Tororo — A section of residents affected by the Standard Gauge Railway project in Tororo Municipality have rejected government evaluation of their land.

The residents, during the valuation and assessment of their land and other properties, declined to assent to the total value, saying the government under assessed their land and properties.

"We want the exercise to be re-done to enable government come up with an accurate figure to base on to compensate us not this fake one," Mr Godfrey Omela, one of the affected residents, said

Mr Omela said the government should compensate them adequately in order to ease their relocation.

Mr Eriminah Okot, another resident said they are not opposed to the development but they want fair and transparent compensation.

The government started the verification and disclosure exercise on November 6, for the affected persons in the villages of Amagoro "A" North, Kasoli, Ogola and Tororo hospital villages. More than 130 persons are affected by the project in the area.

Throughout the verification and disclosure exercise that ran for the last 10 days, a section of the residents said the computation had irregularities.

However, the communications officer, Standard Gauge Railway Project, Ms Diana Opio, refuted claims of under valuation and assessment.

The Standard Gauge Railway project targets to acquire over 200 hundred acres of land in Tororo municipality because this area has been earmarked to house the railway station that will serve the Kampala and the northern route lines.

Mr David Olomi, the area councillor, said the government should people in free and fair manner.

"The affected persons should be compensated in fair and transparent manner. This should be done in good spirit because they have accepted to relocate," he said.

However, the communications officer, Standard Gauge Railway Project, Ms Diana Opio, refuted claims of under valuation and assessment.

"During the exercise, we made sure that every affected person was present and immediately after evaluation each one had to sign a form confirming that all the properties have been covered," she said.

She said out of the total 138 persons affected in the area, only two people had complaints.

"Only two people have formalised their complaints or appeals with our complaints desk, which we are going to attend to with immediate effect in this area," Ms Opio, said.

She added that the project does not have any intention to cheat anybody but to ensure that people are adequately compensated.

"We are going to ensure that whoever was affected by the project receives adequate compensation," she said.

Ms Opio explained that they used district compensation rates generated by each district land board to compensate affected residents.

She revealed 1633 persons affected by the project in Tororo district have been fully compensated, only 138 are remaining.

"We are yet to serve them with vacation notices because they are supposed to vacate their land within a period of 90 days from date they receive their compensation," she said.

She said besides the ongoing compensation and verification and disclosure activities, project has also embarked on establishment of the survey control points where the teams are already on ground doing their assessments.

She added that the project will construct 25 control points to act as reference points during the railway construction.

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