Limur water project suspended until further notice

A multi-purpose irrigation project earmarked for construction in South Sudan's Torit State has been suspended until Acholi and Madi communities in refugee camps return home, an official said.

An initiative of Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU), Limur multi-purpose water project was launched in 2015.

Speaking to reporters Monday, the deputy state governor, Dr. Margret Itto said the resolution to suspend the water project followed two meetings held on March 13 and 14 in the capital Juba.

The Vice President, James Wani Igga and the minister of water resources, Sopia Pal Gai among others, attended the two meetings.

The Acholi community, in a letter addressed to the national ministry of water resources and irrigation in May last year, opposed plans for implementation of the Limur multi-purpose water project.

Itto said government accepted requests from the Acholi community leaders that the project be halted since they were not consulted.

When we were called, we went and there were two community leaders, one for Acholi and one for Madi plus other members of the community we were called for this meeting in Juba to discuss because the complaints from the community were that they were not consulted and this project is supposed to kick off, said Itto.

We had a lengthy discussion and ended up with concerns of the community accepted that the project should be suspended until our community comes back so that they are given opportunity to be consulted. But what came out during the discussion very clearly was the issue of the cattle, the cattle are not fitting in that area because the communities are predominantly agriculturalists, she added.

The state minister for physical infrastructure, Tito Langoya said the water project, once implemented, would affect Nimule Game Park.

The decision to suspend the project will allow stability in the greater Magwi County, according to Langoya who attended the meeting.

You know animals in Nimule Game Park usually cross from Jelle to Korkoko, up to Atunda to feed during scarcity. Then they go back. So if the dam is put there, it is going to affect animals that will come and disturb people, said Langoya.

He added, We have realized that animals come and dislodge people in Pageri, Nyongwa, Opari, up to Owinykibul when there is scarcity of food and so we are looking at how we can address this.

Langoya said the project covers Ayachi, Magwi and Pageri counties.

Meanwhile, the state lawmaker for Magwi County, John Ochan Bongomin said the water project was imposed on the population.

This project is a project which was imposed on us. It was not a project which came through convincing the community. I mean when there is a project; the person who wants to bring that project should come down to the people on the ground like when we talk of visibility studies, said Ochan.

He added, But for this project it never took place. I should have known if anything took place since the greatest part is in my area.

NELSAP-CU operates in Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, among other countries.

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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