The committee chairperson, William Korotyo says that, before their fact-finding trip in Jinja City, they had received reports of squatters who have constructed permanent houses within the rail line and its’ surrounding reserves.
The land investigations committee appointed to establish the state
of ownership of Uganda Railways Corporation- URC land have expressed concern
about the extent of encroachment on both the rail line and its reserves.
In December last year, the Works Minister, Gen Katumba Wamala,
appointed a six-member land investigations committee to also establish
boundaries of all the Uganda Railways land and assist the company to take
possession of all established encroached land.
The committee was also tasked to collect documentation for any
purported ownership by encroachers, provide monthly investigation interim
reports and provide URC land status report to the minister within 60 days.
Addressing journalists on Thursday in Jinja, the committee chairperson,
William Korotyo says that, before their fact-finding trip in Jinja City, they
had received reports of squatters who have constructed permanent houses within
the rail line and its’ surrounding reserves.
Korotyo reveals that some people have intentionally uprooted URC
boundary marks and even fraudulently acquired land titles on the illegal land. He
reveals that a small number of squatters acquired temporary permits to enable
them to cultivate quick maturing crops within the reserves since they were
bound to be evicted anytime, but they have instead installed eucalyptus farms,
public toilets among other permanent projects contrary to what is contained in
//cue in: “it is serious…
Cue out…the rail line,”
Korotyo adds that as a means of saving the government from its'
frequent expenditures on annual road repairs, the Ministry of Works devised a
strategy of revamping rail transport, to relieve the highways of heavy trucks
which are the main cause of collateral damage on the roads.
//Cue in: “the entire rail…
Cue out…revamp rail transport,”.
Mubarak Kirunda, the Jinja Central Division Chairperson who is
accused of illegally allocating rail land to encroachers says that URC had
abandoned the reserves, prompting local authorities to use them as settlement
areas for struggling youths.
“URC had abandoned these reserves which had become bushy and hubs
of criminal groups, therefore, I allocated part of the rail reserves to the
mechanics who had been evicted from the garages within the city centre,” he