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Zombo residents demand bridge construction across Nyagak River

The project which was commissioned in September 2012, has no visible trace of any corporate social responsibility for the project-affected communities made worse by inadequate information on what the contract implementation spells out, what seems very clear is the construction of the bridge and access roads to the site.

Nyagak 1 power house site and staff units (Photo/Hillary Alithum)

ZOMBO, UGANDA: Community members living around the 3.5 MW Nyagak 1 Power project are demanding for construction of at least a bridge to connect the two communities of Girra and Ngiiya to the Generation plant and the Dam site to promote local tourism and fieldwork excursions for schools.

The USD14 million 3.5 project is contracted to West Nile Rural Electricity Company (WENRECO) the implementors, in a private-public partnership with the Government of Uganda.

Mr Ringtho Hassan, the speaker of Zombo district local government speaking to DailyExpress said the construction of the bridge and access road should have been done before the commissioning of the project in 2012 and that the government should have not rushed to commission the project because the contractors affected the construction of the bridge and the access roads in the area.

“SPENCON the first contractor wasted a lot of time and money but did minimal work, and the SEBETRA later on finalized the construction of the project and executed civil work using the remaining balances of funds provided for the project, so constructing the bridge and access road would increase the project implementation costs which government was not ready for,” said Ringtho.

Mr Ovoya Paskwali, a community member who offered land for the project revealed that they have been lied to because, after the commissioning of the project, there was a promise that the bridge and the access road were to be worked on as soon as possible.
“It’s now 11 years since the project was commissioned, the community members still continue to maintain the bridge and access road and I thank Paidha town council for always standing with us,” said Paskwali

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Mr Ovoya revealed that they will never give up on following the matter and will continue making sure that the villages of Giya and Girra are accessible and appreciates Paidha town council for standing with them during the construction of the temporary makeshift bridge.

Mr Masendi William, another community member said they regret offering land for the project because the aforementioned benefits are not realized.
”I gave land for the project but I received compensation of only about 1.6 million Ugandan shillings for 1 acre of land only and  this  bridge connects us to the market in Paidha and Nyapea Hospital also a favourite shortcut for cyclists and pedestrians am Happy that we have managed to put a structure that can help  community for some time “Mr Masendi said

The newly rehabilitated makeshift bridge connecting to the powerhouse /photo by Hillary Alithum

Mr Onega Innocent, the LCIII Chairperson of Paidha Town Council commends the community members for demanding the bridge construction of River Nyagak “This bridge connects people to Paidha market and Nyapea hospital we shall continue to collaborate with you and I pray Paidha subcounty cooperates with us to work on the second crossing at JUBA,” said Onega

Meanwhile, Eng Du’Janga Simon, the former MP Okoro Constituency and State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development said he was present during the initial stages of crafting the contracts for the 3.5MW Nyagak 1 power project and confirmed that government didn’t stipulate any corporate social responsibility to be implemented.

“I tried to arm-twist the developer to do the bridge and the access road, it was already very late so it was not a corporate social responsibility of the contractor and the developer of the project,” said Du’Janga in a press conference

Eng. DuJanga (L) speaking to a team of journalists from Zombo Press Association/photo by Hillary Alithum

This  3.5 MW Nyagak 1 HEP was a $14 million project and the first mini Hydro Electricity power plant on river Nyagak developed by the government and WENRECO in a private-public partnership to stimulate growth in West Nile Region. Its construction started in 2007 and was commissioned in 2012 by President Museveni.

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