Home | News    Thursday 26 August 2010

Rehabilitation of Torit-Katire 20 km road section begins

By Richard Ruati

August 25, 2010 (TORIT) – A rehabilitation of a 20-km road section from Eastern Equatoria state’s capital, Torit to Katire has kicked off in a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a South Sudan official said.

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Minister Otim and USAID officials inspecting improved road, (Richard Ruati/ST)

“Torit-Katire road will provide multi-purpose services ranging from market access/linkages, farming yards and agriculture products such as dairy milk, meat and easy delivery of services to the rural communities,” said the newly appointed Eastern Equatoria state Minister of Transport and Roads, Peter Karlo Otim.

The project is being implemented by the U.S. based Louis Berger Group and a local contractor Rhino star Supplies.

A delegation from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) headed by George Wagwa recently visited Torit to assess the viability of feeder road projects underway by the company.

In a brief meeting held in the Governor’s office, State Governor Louis Lobong Lojore expressed delight over the improved level of support Eastern Equatoria is receiving from USAID. He outlined several successes currently ongoing in the USAID/GoSS feeder road project in Torit County, which he termed as "wonderful".

Lojore said the ongoing feeder road rehabilitation in Torit and Katire will boost agro-economic activities in that part of the state which once served as the bread basket of Southern Sudan.

Governor Lobong further indicated that "these initiatives are bound to bring relief to the state and its people, especially direct beneficiaries of the project".

Two months into the project, employment opportunities has resulted in a 90 percent utilization of the youths within the project area.

In order to maintain the roads that are currently being rehabilitated, Governor Lobong urged USAID to “extend their investment in institutional capacity building so that in the long run, the Ministry will have the technical ability to maintain the network of roads in the state.”

The head of the visiting USAID delegation said he and his delegation are glad to be in Eastern Equatoria and promised to look into the additional road needs requested by the State Ministry of Transport and Roads.

“USAID encourages local communities to monitor and inform USAID on the progress of projects being carried in their areas,” noted Wagwa.

He lamented that, “USAID advocates for rural roads to be maintained using local contractors, otherwise the improved roads will collapse and deteriorate back to their previous status.”

The projects that are expected to be concluded by December 2010 are to rehabilitate 94km of rural and urban roads in Eastern Equatoria.

Solomon Ohide, the local chief of Emilai Boma expressed joy over recent developments.

“I am excited. We have been waiting to see this and now we are now witnessing implementation of an extraordinary road maintenance project which passes through our locality”, Ohide jubilantly said.

“I am very, very happy for the initiative of labor-based road improvement; this community has suffered for more than 20 years, in this most vulnerable and marginalized community.”

He appealed to USAID to earmark more funds for the remaining 14 km that connect to the main urban area of Katire.

USAID head of delegation thanked the community members for their warm welcome.

“This project is funded by the US government as aid support to the Government of Southern Sudan”, explained Wagwa.

He added that, the “USAID team has come all the way from Juba to monitor whether the money earmarked for this project is being utilized in the right way and for the right purpose, and we are happy that it is serving the right purpose, again, the community has shown passion and big interest toward the project.”