ARUA. The residents of Prison cell in River Oli division, Arua Municipality on Monday blocked China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) surveyors from working on school road over lack of compensation.
CRSG Surveying team was stopped from fixing pegs along the 26 meters wide school road in Arua town.
Mr Khemis Marijani, 75, one of the aggrieved residents said they have already secured a court order barring CRSG from proceeding with the work until the matter is resolved.
Arua Municipal council received shs18.66bn from the World Bank through the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) program for the construction of Adroa and school roads.
Of the shs18.66bn, shs930m was allocated to Joada Consults for consultancy work in the course of the 18 months contract period.
In the design, the 16 meters wide Adroa road shall be a four-lane road while school road will be a dual courage measuring 26 meters wide. Both roads are meant to be constructed with parking and solar street lights.
But as soon as Arua municipal officials handed over the roads to CRSG for construction, a total of 15 local residents rushed to court seeking for compensation before the work kicks off fully.
“Where do they expect us to go after destroying our houses? Our grievances have been presented to court which has stopped the construction of the road until the matter is solved. Why have they failed to obey the court order?” Marijani asked.
When contacted, Mr Onesmas Byamukama, the CRSG environmental social manager confirmed that their workers were blocked and referred this reporter to Arua municipality leaders for more details.
But Al-Hajj Isah Kato, the Arua Municipality Mayor said several joint meetings were held with the affected persons.
He said during the meetings, it was unanimously agreed that houses of the affected people will not be destroyed in the due course of the work since there is no provision for compensation under USMID project.
“I am sorry to see that we are stopping development, which development will stay as we keep going (dying). When development comes, people also develop in various ways as their pieces of land add value on top of boosting business in the town” Kato said.
Kato, however, noted that by dragging Arua Municipality and CRSG to court, the locals are instead fighting development.