“We Are Securing Our Gardens Against Future Flooding & Not Reclaiming The Lake” – Dr. Sudhir Breaks Silence

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Ahead of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit that is expected to host 120 heads of state in Uganda early next year, Speke Resort Munyonyo is undergoing an upgrade that includes the construction of a 3800-seater auditorium and external upgrades like securing the facility’s gardens against flooding.

The facility’s owner Dr Sudhir Ruparelia this Tuesday afternoon hosted members of the media on a fact-finding mission to prove that, unlike some allegations on social media, that he was reclaiming Lake Victoria, he is actually securing the gardens against possible flooding that affected the resort in the recent past, and also that he sought approval of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) before undertaking the works.

“Being adjacent to Lake Victoria is one of the unique attractions of this facility. It is an asset that we guard jealously,” Dr Sudhir told the media, adding: “Ahead of the August-December rainy season, we are only upgrading and securing (against flooding) of our grounds that were affected by the May 2022 unprecedented rise in Lake Victoria levels.”

Dr. Sudhir with the media tours Lake Victoria showers

It should be remembered that a year of extraordinarily heavy rains, that started in April 2019 pushed the lake’s water level up to 13.4 metres (44 feet) by May 2022, breaking the previous 1964 record, according to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.

Even though the lake water levels later receded, Uganda’s National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) in May 2023 warned of abnormal rains. Indeed in the same month, there was significant flooding in the Lake Victoria basin, marked but the washing away of the River Katonga bridge on the Kampala-Masaka Road.

“All these occurrences, necessitated us to raise the grounds adjacent to the lake and secure them against any possibility of flooding. This has however been done in liaison and in compliance with all the relevant environmental and municipal regulatory authorities and laws,” said Dr. Ruparelia.

Sudhir Ruparelia with Son Rajiv addressing the media

For the avoidance of doubt, the ground being raised is the same ground that has held various functions including the Royal Ascot Goat Races in the past, plus several concerts and private parties like weddings.

“Of recent, people have been complaining of soggy grounds so we have decided to raise the ground. Also, several heads of state will be at the resort and enjoying the lakeside of this beautiful country. You don’t want them to be in the mud,” he said.

As a precaution, the grass that covered the grounds was scooped off before raising the ground and the same grass is going to be replanted.

Trees in the area have been protected with walls around them to continue in their natural habitat.

“We love the environment. We are involved in environment conservation. Before we came here, there wasn’t even a single tree, but over the years, we have planted hundreds,” Sudhir said.

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