The people of West Nile may have cause to heartily celebrate the New Year and ins style should energy state minister Simon D’Ujanga’s pronouncement that the much awaited 3.5-megawatt dam will be ready by January 15 2012.
Responding to queries over why Nyagak Dam in the West Nile Zombo district has taken ages to complete and yet others like Mpanga that started much later have been completed and now in use.
Nyagak dam’s construction started in 2003 and it was supposed to be a Christmas gift for the people in 2006 but it has since dragged with several deadlines set only to be painfully violated.
Initially the dam was a private partnership between West Nile Rural Electrification Company (Wenreco), a subsidiary of the Aga Khan and government. But the main contractor, Skoda Export of the Czech Republic and civil works sub-contractor Sobetra International from Italy did a shoddy job and vanished.
The government had to intervene and with the support from a German development bank has now contracted Indian firm Spencon and a Sri Lankan electro-mechanical firm VS Hydro to complete the dam.
D’Ujanga said Spencon has done much of the civil works and needs 10 weeks to complete its work. He also disclosed that VS Hydro started electrical and mechanical works on November 31st and has promised to complete its work in also 10 weeks.
The minister said if all go according to plan he is optimistic that the Nyagak Dam will be switched on or about January 15, 2012.
If that comes true then residents of Arua, Nebbi and Paidha, the three major towns that Wenreco currently serves would have cause to celebrate the New Year in a big way.
But other towns like Zombo, Pakwach, Parombo, Panyimur, Nyadri, Koboko, Yumbe, Moyo and Adjumani will have to wait a little bit longer since they have not been connected to the regional grid yet.
In an earlier interview D’Ujanga said connecting the remains towns and districts should not worry the people because it takes much shorter time than building the dam.
Though the actual figures are not readily available, the demand for power in West Nile is on the increase with pundits saying the 3.5-megawatt dam has been overtaken by the demand and therefore there is a need to connect the region to the national grid.