Friday , July 12 2024

Residents affected by mining activities to receive compensation

The government has promised to pay people of various villages in the Kapchorwa and Bulambuli districts who have been impacted by mining activity.

The location is where the Kampala Cement Company mines pozzolana, a vital ingredient in cement production.

Kaboryot and Kapchela in Kawowo Sub-county, Kapchorwa District, and Buwekanda Village in Nabbongo Sub-county, Bulambuli District, are the most impacted communities.

Since 2014, the impacted communities have been requesting compensation from the firm.

They allege that mining activities have put their lives at a risk due to dust, vibration from machines and flying rocks from sites that have destroyed their houses.

The residents also allege the company created a 2km access road to the quarry without compensating owners of the land.

While meeting the affected locals and their leaders at the weekend in Buwekanda Village, Nabbongo Sub-county, the minister of Internal Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, said communities deserve compensation.

“If the company has failed to compensate you, we as government, are set and ready to compensate you because we want development, but development with responsibility,” he said.

He added: “We are all concerned and we promise we are going to pay for all the damages caused and later we will compel Kampala Cement to pay us back.”

Mr Otafiire said a team of geologists and environmentalist economists will visit the affected communities this week to assess the damages so that they know how much each household should be compensated.

“We are going to start with Bulambuli because it has more claims and later we shall move to Kapchorwa but only genuine claimants will be compensated,” he said.

Last month, the community blocked the road to the quarry, saying the mining activities had led to contamination of water sources and other environmental degradation.

In November 2019, the Members of Parliament on the Natural Resources Committee ordered cement companies to halt their operations in the area over environmental degradation but the company never heeded the orders.

Ms Irene Nafuna Muloni, the Woman MP for Bulambuli District, said there is too much waterlogging and flooding due to mining activities in the affected areas.

“Our people have lost their plantations, shelters, animals and worst of all, they have no access to clean water,” she said.

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