Welkait Sugar Project uses none of Waldiba Monastery’s land: Project Manager
Addis Ababa, July 12 (WIC) - The Welkait Sugar Development Project doesn’t affect the land and spiritual quietness of Waldiba Monastery, Project Manager, Amenay Mesfin, said.
In an exclusive interview with WIC, Amenay said the project will also not affect the lives of other community members residing around the area.
He said the baseless allegations disseminated prior to the project caused fear of expropriation and land tenure insecurity in the minds of villagers and the monastery communities.
He said the allegations had misled villagers and the monastery communities. However, the series discussions held with the communities have cleared the confusion and the project is progressing well.
“It is inevitable that a total of 945 households from three villages will be relocated due to the project, however, no activities of the project affect the monastery’s land and its spiritual activities”, said Amenay.
He said there is a plot of land out of the monastery territory the monks of Waldiba use for farming. As the land is now part of the project, they will be given irrigable land as a replacement.
The government is equally concerned with the religious wellbeing of the monastery, Amenay said, adding the Welkait sugar development project uses none of the monastery’s land.
In addition to the monastery communities, Amenay reminded that some of the villagers still have doubts about relocation compensation, availability of grazing land, water facilities and farming land.
Amenay pointed out that villagers need not worry about the land size and availability of water facilities, because the resettlement project builds canals up to the settlement sites.
Once they resettle on irrigable land, the villagers can either produce sugar cane as “out growers” and sell it for the factory, or produce cash crop three times a year using the project dam for free. “This alleviates the farmers’ dependency on rain, thus allowing them to increases their incomes,” said Amenay.
According to Amenay, the resettlement programs have already started after convincing the villagers of the importance of the project. The villagers are working jointly with the government for the success of the program, he added.
Each household will be provided with 400 m2 land for building their houses and up to two hectares of land for farming, said Amenay. In addition, over 450 hectares of pasture land is readied for the resettlers.
According to Amenay, the grazing land is enough to accommodate the huge number of livestock available in the area.
Currently the resettlement program is underway at Korarit resettlement site. The site is selected as it is situated on the side of Shire-Adiremets main asphalt road.
He said activities are underway to build potable water, health station, schools, veterinary clinics, electric, telecom and road facilities.
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