Sunday, 11 August 2013

Museveni commissions Karuma power dam works today

A power house in Kabalega Hydropower Station.
A power house in Kabalega Hydropower Station. Bunyoro will have a second dam when Karuma is completed. 

Kampala- President Museveni is today expected to preside over the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of of Karuma Hydropower Plant.
In June, the government awarded the contract of constructing the 600MW Karuma dam to Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese firm. The dam is expected to cost about $2.2 billion (about Shs6 trillion).
A transmission line from Karuma to a location where the power will be integrated into the national power grid will also be constructed.
However, today’s ceremony comes at a time when residents of Kiryandongo District have petitioned the government to operationalise the construction of a satellite city at Karuma falls.
City benefits
The residents said the project will attract investors and facilities that will scale up urbanisation.
Kiryandongo County MP Sam Otada said his constituents are wondering why the city has never been operationalised although it was proposed in 2009.
He said the government promised to set up a city on River Kafu banks.
However, the Ministry of Lands spokesperson, Mr Dennis Obbo, at the weekend said: “The dam and the city are complimentary and not conflicting. The planning process is underway.”
Mr Obbo said on Saturday by telephone.
He said the ministry will zone, develop structural and detailed plans for the proposed city. He however did not state when the city will become operational.
Mr Otada said whereas the project has excited locals, who hope to tap the business and employment opportunities that will come with the project, they want assurances that the project will not destroy the environment.
“We welcome (construction of the) dam but we wouldn’t want Karuma falls to be destroyed. We want the falls to be preserved because they are a tourist attraction in our district” he said.
The Energy state minister Mr Simon D’ujang said there will be enough water for the dam and the falls.
“An environmental impact assessment has been conducted and the designs indicate that the power will be generated underground without affecting the falls”D’ujang said.
The Bunyoro affairs state minister Mr Ernest Kiiza said the dam will catalyze development of the Midwestern region and Uganda as a whole.
“The dam will provide additional power required for industrial growth,” Kiiza said.
Besides providing jobs to locals, Mr Kiiza said the dam will provide an opportunity to farmers in Bunyoro to add value to their agricultural products when agro processing industries emerge