Officials from the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) were left dumbfounded in Omoro District, Northern Uganda, when they found that a resident who had been compensated as an affected person for the Olwiyo – Gulu road construction project, had returned only to build a ‘powerful structure’ in the road reserve.
The officials were inspecting Olwiyo-Gulu highway whose construction had stalled due to strong resistance from builders who had been contracted to construct the structure.
The UNRA team headed by William Matovu, the Head of Land Acquisition confirmed the specific resident was compensated and residents warned against encroaching on the road reserve.
“This is an example of where the community is not respecting land reserves despite the fact that we have fully compensated them, we have held community engagements with cooperation of local area leaders but people continue to encroach on road reserves,” Matovu said.
The UNRA team said they would issue notice to all those in road reserves to vacate in three months while the specific resident was stopped from proceeding with the structure construction.
Matovu said 91 per cent of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) along the Gulu-Olwiyo road have been compensated.
“The remaining 9% have not received their payments due to land disputes, documentation issues, absent PAPs and PAPs under supplementary valuation report,” Matovu said.
“We have devised means of going door to door to ensure that we address the pending cases of those who have not yet been paid,” Matovu revealed.
He said they expect to address all the uncompensated PAPs by March 2019.
Matovu also cautioned the public to avoid constructing or carrying out any activity on the road reserve since UNRA has already secured the reserve along the project.
He also added that people need to vacate the road reserves to allow UNRA carry out activities like the tree planting program that is expected to commence in the near future.
Nathan Kamya the Olwiyo-Gulu road Project Engineer put the physical works progress at 87.2%. The expected date of completion is April 2019.
“The project includes upgrading of town roads in Gulu municipality (4km) and Anaka Town Council (7km),” Kamya disclosed.
Kamya said the road has improved connectivity and reduced transport costs between the districts of Arua through Nwoyo, Omoro and Kitgum.
“Previously people travelling from Arua to Gulu and vice versa used to connect via Karuma which used to take a long time, but now the travel time has reduced due to the paved road via Nwoyo,” Kamya said.
He also added that the project has since attracted well-developed commercial centres and businesses along the road.