GULU- Gulu district has auctioned more than 500 bags of charcoal that was impounded from the illegal dealers.
The district chairman, Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, said they are auctioning the charcoal to raise funds for implementing the previous council resolution of establishing nursery beds in all the 12 sub-counties in the district to start replacing indigenous trees and restore the vegetation cover.
“It’s not that we are failing the move to stop this act of environmental destruction by auctioning, we are also trying as a district to see to it that an everlasting solution is put in place to stop the vice in the district,’’ he said.
Mr Mapenduzi added that Gulu district local government is in consultation with the research department of Gulu University to introduce fast growing trees for charcoal production as an alternative means of energy.
He added that at least 14 locals have been tried in court for selling trees to charcoal dealers.
Last week, Mr Mapenduzi halted the auctioning of the impounded charcoal arguing that the process had been infiltrated by some corrupt officials in the district.
However, while some residents have welcomed the move, others have opposed it.
Ms Grace Akwero, a resident of Kabedo-opong, said auction is not a good option.
“I feel destroying these impounded charcoal by burning is the only option left to stop this indiscriminative cutting of trees for both corrupt officials from the district and the charcoal dealers will lose” Ms Akwero
“The district should accept to take deliberate decision to remove us from the desperate environmental problem we have started experiencing as a result of charcoal business” Ms Akwero added.
Mr John Bosco Uhuru, an environmental activist, said auctioning charcoal of the dealers is not a solution to the problem.
“The district should consider giving the impounded charcoal free to locals or destroying it by burning that alone will send a very good massage to the promoters of the business that their business is not needed in the region,” Mr Uhuru said.
He added that it will prevent corrupt Chief Administrative officers from issuing licenses as the charcoal dealers will now be at risk as they go after such licenses.