NEBBI – The community of Thidwer village, in Olago parish, Padwot sub-county in Nebbi District are concerned about delayed compensation by Mukoda Engineering Works Limited, a Chinese company carrying out stone quarry activities on Thidwer hill.
Their concern arises from the fact that ever since the Chinese Company started, the stone quarry activities on their land in 2019; they have not received any compensation yet the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has recommended that they are compensated for the destruction of their properties and livelihood.
Richard Binega , a community member says, they are in dire need for compensation since their properties and land have been destroyed but the Chinese company has taken long to respond to them and it has raised concerns among affected community members.
Konelio Okecha, one of the community elders said, they offered land amounting to a radius of 500m; and more than 100 community members within the radius were affected. They are now threatening to stage a demonstration to send a signal to both the Chinese company and the government.
“The company transports over ten trucks of stone ratios per-day supplying various projects in the West-Nile region but we are not being compensated,” Okecha said.
The LC3 Chairperson Padwot sub-county, Denis Opio asked for the construction of community access roads as part of the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) since most community roads are inaccessible due to heavy rains which has washed away the roads.
He further added that, Padwot sub-county is a new sub-county with a poor revenue base to facilitate the key priority areas but if the Chinese company could pay local revenue, they could improve on the sub-county’s roads and construct health centers.
“Last year in October, the sub-county engaged the company to compensate the community members being affected by the stone quarry activity and pay local revenue to the sub-county but, nothing has so far been done,” Opio said.
However, the Chinese Company Site Manager, Zeferino Macamo says, they have a budget in place for the compensation of the community members , but the delay was caused by Covid-19 since their operations started in 2019.
He added that, the company is only waiting for the government Chief Valuer to evaluate the land such that the community members affected by stone quarry activity are compensated.
He also noted that the company is ready to comply with the community’s demand to work on access roads as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and also give priorities to the surrounding
community members to be employed locally at the site.
“Mukoda Company has come to work with these community members and we are committed to compensating all those within the radius of the operation and will comply with the community demands,” Macamo said.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Resident District Commissioner (DRDC), Nebbi district, Emokol Onyango urged Mukoda Chinese Company to speed up the compensation processes such that the community members earmarked for compensation are paid and they also pay the district taxes.
“Speed up the compensation processes to avoid conflicts which may arise in the community due to the delayed compensation at the site,” Onyango said.
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