Members of Parliament on the committee of Physical Infrastructure have opposed a government plan to allocate Shs7.2b for compensating squatters on the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) land.
The committee chairperson, Mr David Karubanga, said the squatters settled on the land illegally and so they don’t deserve compensation.
“It will be unfortunate if the government goes ahead with the compensation. These are squatters who illegally encroached on the railway line and compensating them will amount to corruption,”Mr Karubanga said.
The committee was at the weekend in the eastern region to assess the progress of the rehabilitation of the 375Km Tororo-Gulu line which is being undertaken by Sogea Satom/ETF [JV].
Mr Karubanga said the government and other stakeholders, including politicians, should urge people to vacate the land voluntarily to pave way for speedy renovation of the railway line.
The rehabilitation works will ensure operations resume after nearly 27 years due to insecurity in northern Uganda and stiff competition from road freight.
The project that started in 2019 is funded by government and the European Union at a tune of Shs138 billion. It will run for 36 months.
Mr Karubanga said they found out that only Shs8b of the Shs40b had been released so far, which has hindered the progress of works.
“We call upon the Ministry of Finance to expedite the process to avail funds…,” he said.
Ms Sarah Opendi, the Woman MP for Tororo, said the government had failed to meet its financial obligations. “This could force the contractor to pull out or cause further delays.’’
Mr Robert Kasolo, the Iki-Iki County MP, and the vice chairperson of the committee, said: “They will emphasise on engaging URC during a committee plenary.”
Mr Benon Kajuna, the director of Transport, said: “The rehabilitation would revive factories and increase agricultural production in the northern region.”