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The government has finalized plans to pay off the over 400 families to be affected by the Karuma power dam construction, in order to pave way for the beginning of the project.
The Commissioner for Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, James Banaabe Isingoma says the government has already got money and all residents whose claims were verified and valued will be paid in May 2012.
He was speaking during a public hearing for the proposed Karuma hydro- power project that is expected to generate between 500-800 Mega watts of electricity to boost power supply in Uganda.
Banaabe said the government is ready to start the construction of the dam after carrying out the Resettlement Action Plan which involves paying off the people to be affected by the dam and relocating them elsewhere.
The government is planning to construction a 1.5km runoff the river tunnel on the east of the Kyoga Nile, which will see some residents in Kiryandongo and Oyam residents relocated.
During the public hearing organized by the Ministry of Energy together with the National Environmental Management Authority and the Directorate of Water Development at Karuma Primary School on Frdiay, residents expressed concern at the delay in compensating them for the land so that the project can take off.
Benjamin Mugeneyi who spoke on behalf of the Local leaders and Elders Association said residents had long been waiting on the government to compensate them so they can relocate. He said the residents were told not to plant crops like cassava, bananas that take long time to mature because of the impending relocation but years had gone by and the government had not paid them to relocate.
Residents also expressed concern that up to now they don’t know how much they will be compensated as per the government valuer’s recommendations, while others were concerned at the high inflation currently standing at 29% compared to 8% in 2009 when the land valuations were made.
The Executive Director of NEMA, Tom Okurut promised the residents that their queries and concerns will be answered in writing by May 15th 2012. He said residents were welcome to continue forwarding their views up to 30th May 2012 in time for NEMA to issue the final decision on the impact assessment of the project.
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