Plot owners at Farato  Bojang-Kunda threaten legal actions if…?

Jan 6, 2022, 1:00 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Plot owners at Farato Bojang-Kunda whose lands were affected as a result of the construction of a 20MW Solar PV Plant at Jambur village in the West Coast Region (WCR) have threatened to take legal actions if the relevant authorities fail to fully compensate them.

Some of the plot owners who are affected by the project have claimed that they bought each plot for D200, 000, whereas the project wants to compensate them with D140, 000 a plot measuring 20x20.

Dawda Dumbuya, one of the affected individuals who spoke to The Point in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, said he bought his plot of land in 2019 at Farato Bojang-Kunda, claiming that he even bought cements as he was preparing to start construction.

“Unfortunately, I was informed not to start construction due to the fact that NAWEC is bringing a project in the area which is going to affect our lands, thus I decided to halt the planned construction.”

“We were later interviewed by some Senegalese consultants on behalf of the project. After the interview, I submitted all the documents that they requested. In fact, they told us that the NAWEC transmission line is going to affect compounds that are about 40 meters from the line.”

The consultants, he added, assured them that those that are affected as a result of the project are going to be fully compensated. “Beside, during the interview, the consultants claimed that plot owners who are affected and wanted financial compensation will be given money, while others who opted for lands in another location will also be given lands.”

“I bought a plot of land at D200, 000 which is measuring 20x20. However, the consultants who claimed to be from NAWEC, said they are only going to pay D140, 000 to any affected individuals whose plot of land is 20X20. They also informed us that whoever wish to be compensated with land will have a plot of land at Bafuloto.”

“We will go anywhere to ensure that we either have our lands or our money. If possible, we will even go to court if they are not going to add some amount of money on top of the D200, 000.”

Yankuba Alime, also an affected individual, said he bought his plot of land measuring 25x20 in an amount of D180, 000 around Farato Jambur near the forest.

He claimed that he had been doing farming in the said land prior to the land being taken as a result of the NAWEC project, while further claiming he even dug a well in the said land. 

“I wanted to start construction on the said land. Unfortunately, I was contacted by the person of whom I bought the land from. He told us that the government wants the area because they are bringing a project to the area.”

“In fact, I have lost many of my cement blocks as a result of this project. They told us that they would pay us within six months. They asked me whether I prefer money or to be given another land. I told them that I want to be compensated with money. However, still now I don’t receive anything,” he stated, adding: “During one of our meetings at Latiriya, the consultants even told me that they were going to pay me D10, 500 – something I strongly refused and we even quarrelled on that day.”

Yankuba further claimed that he was also offered another D200, 000 by the consultants when he and the (NAWEC consultants) had another meeting at NAWEC at Kairaba Avenue. “I refused to accept that money because I told them that I have already started developing the said plot of land and now I have been sitting for three years without my land.”

Lamin Fadera, who also bought land for his brother in the said area in 2019, laments the difficulty they are encountering in having their compensation in either cash or kind.

“The consultants during our first interview promised to give us very good compensation and that everybody would be happy. In fact, they told us that the project has not been funded by The Gambia government.”

“However, during our meeting last year, the consultants told us that they are going to pay D140, 000 for a plot of land that is measuring 20x20. They told us each square meter, they are taking it at D350. I was surprised and I even told them how they came to the conclusion of paying people D140, 000 for a plot of land measuring 20x20.”

“Some people who were frustrated agreed to take the money, but most of the people didn’t agree to their demands because they felt cheated. The location where we got the land is very strategic and we can’t get other lands with the amount of money that they wanted to compensate us with. We feel we have been cheated. We are unfairly treated and they don’t tell us the truth.”

The project consultants were contacted from comments, but they declined to comment and referred the reporter to Pierre Sylva, spokesperson for NAWEC. Sylva, however, noted that the best people to speak on the subject are the project consultants because the project is not directly under NAWEC.

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