MARACHA. The environmental hazard caused by Rokoze stone quarry site in Yagule village, Nyadri sub-county in Maracha has overwhelmed the district officials.
As a result, Mr Emmanuel Wani, the Maracha district speaker has advised the district authority to petition the National environment management authority (NEMA) and the relevant ministries to intervene.
Wani wants the district chairperson and the area Members of Parliament (MPs) to write to NEMA and the ministry of water and environment to compel Chongqing International Construction cooperation (CICO), a Chinese engineering company that constructed Vurra-Arua-Oraba road to adhere to the recommendations on the NEMA certificate so as to reclaim the valley at Rokoze stone quarry site.
He said the communities have been subjected to suffering, a series of meetings conducted between the communities, district leaders and CICO couldn’t yield tangible results.
“I call upon the legislators to work as a team with the district chairman, Mr Laurence Adiga in following up this matter,” Wani said.
The speaker was on Monday responding to accusations filed by the locals around the quarry site in Pabura parish, blaming Nyadri sub-county and the district leadership for failing to monitor the activities of CICO in reclaiming the man-made lake in which three people have so far drowned to death.
According to Mr Philliam Bakole, the chairperson of Rokoze community, they agreed with CICO to fill-up the valley left in the stone quarry site at Rokoze before they started excavation.
He said their agreement was even documented on NEMA certificate but to date, nothing has been done to that effect.
“We recently engaged CICO again together with the district leadership and they reaffirmed their commitment. They were later tasked to fence off the site as their geologists carry out feasibility study but unfortunately, they did shoddy work and wanted to hand over the site like that,” Bakole added.
The Nyadri sub-county female councillor Ms Grace Buleru said at the moment, the site is a death trap where several children are getting injuries.
“Since CICO left the site, no serious action has been taken by the district. And CICO cannot hand over the site when they have done shoddy work in fencing the place,” Buleru remarked.
While addressing the community members over the weekend, Mr Jimmy Oraku Abirionzia, the Nyadri sub-county chairperson said after reporting the irregularities at Rokoze on several occasions, they have been let down by the district.
“This issue is beyond our level as the sub-county. We have written to the district and invited the district leaders to come and help us in tasking CICO to follow the guidelines set by NEMA but all in vain,” Abirionzia stated.
He also challenged people mainly the women mining stone dust and aggregates at the site to take extra precautions to avoid more cases of death at the site.
CICO was contracted by the government of Uganda to construct the 57 miles (92 km) road that links Uganda’s two international borders of Vurra customs with DRC to South Sudan at Oraba in 2012.
The road was completed in 2015 at a cost of 132 billion Ugandan shillings (US$ 52.8M).
However, CICO reportedly compensated the families of the three victims who perished at the site with a minimum of shs3m each.