To ensure the smooth construction of a 1,300km transmission line from Cote d'Ivoire into Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, TRANSCO CLSG has, in collaboration with the government of Sierra Leone, commenced the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) to settle families who are within the power corridor and will be affected by the project.
The West African Power Pool (WAPP) power interconnection project will help interconnect the four countries into the 225kilo volt regional energy market in West Africa and also increase electricity supply in the said countries.
The project, which will be implemented by TRANSCO in Sierra Leone, is expected to be completed in 2019 with the hope of providing residents of the four countries improvements in power supply in the short-term
The symbolic launch of RAP for Project Affected Persons (PAPs) within Lot 2 from Kono to Bumbuna took place at the Wusum Hotel in Makeni last week, where 90 affected persons as well as land owners received their compensation packages.
According to TRANSCO CLSG General Manager, Mohamed Sheriff, more than 400 households will be affected by the construction of the transmission line and substation in Sierra Leone, the reason they have commenced compensating them through a transparent compensation process.
He explained that based on the estimates in 2012, a total of 2,168 hectares of land and 414 persons will be affected by the project, while 38 houses will be relocated as the 194 hectares of land expected to be impacted by the project will be replanted in seven districts.
Mr. Sheriff disclosed that in 2012, a treaty was signed by the four beneficiary countries to establish TRANSCO with the task of managing the project implementation as well as operating and maintaining the transmission line.
He said the project is a multinational investment by the World Bank, European Investment Bank, German Development Bank and African Development Bank, adding that the four countries have provided their counterpart contributions for the payment of the resettlement action plan.
According to him, the project has provision for share wire system for rural connectivity and that it consists of 11 new substations in the four countries sharing the 225kilo volt, with Sierra Leone having five of them.
"In Sierra Leone, the project involves the construction of approximately 530km/225kv power line through seven districts, including Pujehun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Bombali and Kambia," he disclosed and added that five substations will be constructed in Kenema, Bikongor, Bumbuna, Yiben and Kamakwe.
Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Brima Bangura, assured that government was ready and committed to support the project because according to him, improvement in the energy sector is paramount for sustainable development.
"We will be monitoring the implementation of this project. We will be asking for progress report to make sure that the project is completed within the stipulated timeframe," he said.
On behalf of Paramount Chiefs, PC Alimamy Dura III of Safrokoh Limba Chiefdom welcomed the implementation of the project and payment of compensation package to affected persons and land owners.
While assuring that they will do all within their powers to ensure that the land where the construction work will be carried out is secured, the traditional ruler expressed hope that maintenance of the areas would be sustainable.
On his part, Deputy Minister of Energy II, Osmond Hanciles urged beneficiaries to make good use of the package provided them and help secure edifices that would be constructed by the project.
He informed his audience to be ready to pay a little amount for the services that would be provided after completion of the project because electricity is very expensive.
Following the RAP process, TRANSCO CLSG management will acquire sites and hand them over to the contractors, who are ready to jumpstart physical construction activities of 1300km transmission line and substations across the CLSG.