The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has written to Jinja Municipal to avail land at the Source of the Nile to pave way for redevelopment of the revered site.
In her September 24 letter to Jinja Municipality mayor, Mr Majidu Batambuze, Speaker Kadaga reminded the municipality to avail appropriate land for the construction of Mahatma Gandhi Culture Centre.
“. . . As you may be aware that the Prime Minister of India, Mr Modi Narendra, visited Uganda in July 2018 and during his address to Parliament on July 25, made various pledges. One of them was to construct Mahatma Gandhi Culture Centre at the Source of the Nile. I’m informed by the Office of the Prime Minister that the Local Government in Jinja failed to avail land at the Source of the Nile to the donor to enable the project get started.’’
“I therefore write to seek clarification about this matter and urge you to identify appropriate land. The offer is not just for Jinja but a national monument,’’ the one-page letter reads apart.
In an October 17 letter from the Jinja Municipal Development Forum (MDF-Jinja), a community platform, to Mr Batambuze, signed by the MDF-Jinja president, Ms Sarah Nandudu, clarification was sought as to why the project had failed to kick off yet it is a source of revenue.
The government of India wants to redevelop the Source of the Nile in commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian activist whose ashes were immersed in the Nile in 1948.
The deputy head of Mission India, Mr Mohammed Baswale Kezaala, recently said the project, according to the National Construction Corporation of India, requires 10 acres of land and the amount of money will depend on the available space.
The Jinja Municipality land surveyor, Mr Robert Kitimbo, said the land at the Source of the Nile, that belongs to Jinja Municipal Council, is only 9.1 acres which all cannot be allocated for redevelopment.The proposed projects include Mahatma Gandhi Culture Centre, conference space and facilities, observatory glass bridge connecting to the island, pedestrian bridge connecting the east (Jinja) to the west (Njeru) bank, museum, swimming pool and five star hotel. Others include a recreation park, art and craft area which will be redeveloped into a smart village, cable car infrastructure, landscaping and general beatification of the area, resurfacing of the road, street furniture and solar lighting of the area and facility.