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Construction of Arua power substation set to commence

By Robert Adiga

Added 26th September 2020 12:10 PM

The project will also see the construction of houses for 75 vulnerable project-affected persons and roads.

Construction of Arua power substation set to commence

Abdon (left) and Styuan (right) with offi cials from the energy ministry and UETCL touring the site on Tuesday. Photo by Bosco King

The project will also see the construction of houses for 75 vulnerable project-affected persons and roads.

ARUA|ELECTRICITY|DEVELOPMENT 

Residents of Nyio cell in Oluko ward, Ayivu Division in Arua city were informed on Tuesday that plans to commence the construction of the national grid power substation for West Nile are complete.

The revelation was made during the programme for engagement of substation local leadership and the affected persons from Arua, Nebbi, Gulu and Kole substation sites.

The programme was organised by officials from the energy ministry and the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) at the Arua substation site.

The construction of the four substations, a project worth $100m, was funded by the World Bank. The Arua substation, which sits on 5.25 acres, was contracted to AVIC-International Holding Corporation.

Jimmy Abiyo, the LC1 chairperson of Nyio cell, noted that the commencement of the project was delayed by land conflicts.

"However, currently, almost all the project-affected persons in this village have been compensated, except for some eight people. We, therefore, pledge full support and co-operation to the company undertaking the project," he said.

Eng. Abdon Akine, the project manager from the energy ministry, commended the landlords for sacrificing their land for the construction of the substation andallowing transmission lines to pass through their land.

He, however, noted that they were aware that the project had been delayed by land wrangles and pledged total commitment to ensuring that the project is completed within the stipulated time.

"I urge the contractor to handle the local community with care, cooperate with them and give them priority in case of employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labour," he said.

He added that the purpose of their engagement with the community was to alert them about the imminent commencement of the project and the possible impacts of the project , so they are able to come up with mitigation plans.

Anna Akello Muhereza, the project manager from UETCL, said the contractor has already set up camp at the site, with a team of surveyors and geologists.

She tasked the project contractor with expediting the process. "The majority of the labour force will be hired from the local community, with a few specialists," she added.

Delayed compensation

Muhereza explained that some landlords have not been compensated due to disputes , some resulting from boundary issues and valuation. Nathan Isabirye, the social safeguard specialist from the UETCL, said about 3,033 people were affected by the project in the four substations. A total of 359 people were affected. Of those, only 162 have been compensated.

Benefits

Isabirye said other benefits of the project include construction of houses for 75 vulnerable project affected persons, of which 53 have already been identified by the contractor.

Others are distribution of seeds, road construction and other social services, such as building schools.

Dorothy Achan, a social development specialist from the energy ministry, said there will also be both direct and indirect employment opportunities for the residents.

She also confirmed that in-depth sensitisation will be conducted, to encourage positive human capital development in the area.

"Other measures will also be put in place by the energy ministry and the contractor, to mitigate any challenges that might come with the project," she added.

The breaking of the ground ceremony is expected to take place next month.

Authorities speak out

Bernard Atiku, the Member of Parliament for Ayivu Division, said there is need for the project to be delivered on time.

He further challenged the contractor to give priority for employment opportunities to the locals and urged the community to be co-operative.

He said, as leaders, they will keenly monitor the implementation of the project, to ensure that satisfactory work is delivered.

John Jiang, the director of AVIC-International Holding Corporations, said fencing of the site will commence immediately and that all the materials to start the construction have already been secured.

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