Sudhir denies Lake Victoria landfilling claims – ‘We are securing our land from rising water levels’

Dr Sudhir Ruparelia addressing journalists at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala. Right is Rajiv Ruparelia, his son and Managing Director of the Ruparelia Group

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Kampala’s Property mogul Dr Sudhir Ruparelia has refuted claims that he has degraded Uganda’s largest waterbody Lake Victoria by pouring soil to refill the water body saying all his works are in accordance with the regulation of the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

Dr Sudhir under the Ruparelia Group entered into a public-private partnership to undertake a multibillion project of building a convention centre that will host over 128 heads of state in the forthcoming 19th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The renovations now underway at Speke Resort Munyonyo will also see the resort make several expansions, and according to Dr Sudhir, this calls for a systematic approach to ensure properties built nearby the waterbody remain safe and at an international standard.

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“We all know how high the lake rose during this time. The last thing you want to see is when there is an international function like NAM and the heads of state decide to take a walk around the Lake shores, only to find muddy water and step on soggy ground,” Sudhir said on Tuesday afternoon as he hosted members of the media on a fact-finding mission at the construction site in Munyonyo.

“The shores of Lake Victoria here are going to be one of the most precious parts of the scenery where people can go for photographs, it is so necessary for us to raise the level of the ground that we have,” he added, insisting that the resort was securing their own land, without tampering with the Lake shores.

Dr Sudhir and members of the media during an on-the-spot tour of the construction of the Speke Resort Convention Centre in Kampala.

Sudhir also noted that the resort being adjacent to Lake Victoria is one of the unique attractions of the facility and an asset that is guarded jealously. “Ahead of the August-December rainy season, we are only upgrading and securing (against flooding) of our grounds that were affected by the May 2022 unprecedented rise in Lake Victoria levels.”

“All these occurrences, necessitated us to raise the grounds adjacent to the lake and secure them against any possibility of flooding. This has however been done in liaison and in compliance with all the relevant environmental and municipal regulatory authorities and laws,” Dr Sudhir emphasized refuting social media allegations of filling the waterbody with soil. “This is completely false, and it is guided rumours and information.”

Speaking of the upcoming event which will take place in January 2024, Sudhir said the summit will be followed by the G 77, an equally big summit, with a similar number of heads of state.

“We are going to host the highest number of heads of state in history. The Speke Resort Convention Centre and related works have a seater capacity of 4,400 people, bigger than the United Nations main hall,” he said, adding that construction was on schedule and would be ready by end of November 2023,” noted the businessman.

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The multi-billion Convention Centre is a joint venture between Meera Investments under Ruparelia Group and Uganda Corporation Bank (UDC), an investment arm of the government.

“The share into this project is on a 50 to 50 per cent basis, an equal number of shares and equity, according to Dr Sudhir

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