HC Deb 06 April 1925 vol 182 cc1864-6W
Sir W. de FRECE

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give particulars of the routes and the locations to be served by the railway extension into Uganda for which an assisted loan of 3½ millions was voted by the House last year; whether any detailed plans and estimates have been prepared for the work involved; and if he will also state whether this construction work or any of it is to be open to public tender, as promised by the previous Secretary of State for the Colonies, thereby ensuring competitive prices, or whether it is the intention to carry out the extension works departmentally without competition?


Of the £3,500,000 voted as a loan for capital expenditure on transport arising out of the development of cotton growing in Uganda and Kenya £2,200,000 is intended to be applied to new railway construction. Of this it is estimated that £1,200,000 to £1,500,000 will be spent on the main extension from Turbo through Tororo to the Busoga Railway at Mbulamuti. The whole route has been surveyed and full preliminary estimates prepared, and, with the advice of the consulting engineers, construction has been authorised from each end of the route, the detailed survey and location proceeding with but in advance of construction. Construction began at Mbulamuti in January, but at the other end there has been some delay, as the rails of the Uasin Gishu Railway have not yet reached Turbo. Further railway construction will, as has already been explained in the House, include a line in the North Kavirondo district of Kenya and a line in Uganda running north from Tororo to Mbale and thence, as far as funds permit, to the north-west. These routes have not yet been surveyed. With regard to the latter part of ale question, there has been no alteration in the principle laid down by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. J. H. Thomas) that, owing: to special labour conditions, construction in Uganda must be entirely departmental. In Kenya, the right hon. Gentleman at first decided that tenders should be invited with a view to construction by contract, but later he was impressed by the possibility that the relief to the transport of Uganda cotton might thereby be delayed for a great part of a season, and after the late Governor had been consulted the present Secretary of State decided that in Kenya, as in Uganda, the line should constructed departmentally.