District leaders of Madi-Okollo and Amuru have expressed concern over the late operationalization of the Amuru-Rhino Camp ferry.
Construction of the ferry began eight years ago at the Awuvu Landing Site at Rhino Camp City Council.
In an interview with this publication on Tuesday, the leaders said the delay in the commissioning of the ferry has affected the local economy and the livelihoods of communities in the beneficiary districts.
Mr Michael Lakony, Amuru District Chairman, said: “Every time they promise to run the ferry but once the elections are over they shut up and it continues to frustrate the communities which since then have not failed to do business on either side.”
“…We are calling on the Ministry of Public Works and UNRA to expedite and prioritize the implementation process as it has severely affected the livelihoods of people here,” Lakony added.
Mr. Isaac Etuka Joakino, MP for Upper Madi County, said:
“We tried in vain to get the line ministry to get this ferry into service as soon as possible.”
Mr Gilbert Olanya, MP for Kilak South, said the government’s broken promises to fix the ferry had given people false hope.
“There were a lot of unnecessary delays from Unra after the plan was mooted until they told us they would be moving an old ferry from the Laropi landing site since they deployed a new ferry there in 2017, but after bringing this old one to the site, they never assembled it,” Mr Olanya said.
In August, UNRA attributed the late completion of the project to funding problems since it is funded from the authority’s own budget.
When contacted, Mr. Ahmed Okwir Awoii, the Unra station manager for Arua, declined to comment on the progress of the works and the causes of the delays.
However, Mr. Allan Ssempebwa, the spokesman for Unra, said that the construction of the Amuru-Rhino-Camp ferry is nearing completion.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr Ssempebwa said their engineers had been deployed to the field at Awuvu Landing Site in Rhino Camp Town Council and were completing the work.
“We are very optimistic that before the end of this exercise, the facility should be fully operational as they are in the process of assembling it and the leveling of the connecting roads has been done so far,” said said Mr. Ssempebwa.
He added: “Work on this ferry has not dragged on, work is in progress on it and our (engineering) teams are mobilizing equipment and materials to work on both the ferry and the construction of the pier. .”
Work on the office block, staff quarters and passenger waiting shade at the landing site is also nearing completion, including the gravelling of the access road to the landing site. Amuru Landing in Amuru District across the river.