More than 300 households who encroached on the land belonging to Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) in Pakwach Town Council face eviction, according to the Corporation’s Chief Surveyor, Jonathan Tukamuhabwa.
Mr Tukamuhabwa who led a delegation that surveyed the land last week told our reporter that 75 per cent of URC’s land was encroached on and had permanent structures established on it adding that parts of the land were fraudulently sold and dubious land titles acquired on the government land.
The chief surveyor said that the corporation is in custody of the list of settlers who were fully compensated and have been constantly been warned against settling and practicing on the land whose milestones were vandalized.
“The concept of this land survey is to erase the notion that Uganda Railways Corporation is no more and to define the existence of our land boundary and also to remind those grabbing it that they should start the process of evacuating peacefully”, he said.
However, the affected people have appealed for government intervention saying they do not have anywhere else to go having settled in the areas for more than 30 years.
The leader of the affected people at Nyamatai in Puvungu, Mr Eria Jakaranda Jakweyo, sais some members ignorantly bought the land and the sellers have relocated to parts of Bunyoro for fear of being asked to return the money.
He said some of the affected people are planning to challenge the decision in the courts of law.
“With the rapid flood that has ravaged our people, they decided to relocate here and suddenly this bad news emerges. Who is going to compensate for this? We want formal notification so that we seek the advice of our lawyers”, Mr Jakweyo said.
The community claims that they predominantly derive their livelihood from agriculture on the land arguing that evicting them will be detrimental to their livelihood.
Ms Jessica Apio said she migrated to the area from Gulu in 2000 during the insurgency and is hosted at “Acholi Empire”, the former staff quarter for the railway and has become home to hundreds of war victims from Acholi region.
URC is also in land rift with Kerkwaro Puvungu over Wanglei cultural site where Gipir and Labongo separated over planned expansion.
Pakwach town council is also claiming one acre of land for establishment of a lorry park that the corporation claim is under its administrative unit.
Mr Tukamuhabwa told Kazi-njema News that the team of the surveyors will proceed to Nwoya district where the railway line stretches to the regional headquarters in Gulu to define its actual boundaries.