Ka­ji­ado land com­pen­sa­tion row threat­ens SGR works

Business Daily (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - Stan­ley Ngotho sngotho@ke­na­tion­media.com

A land com­pen­sa­tion stand­off pit­ting the Na­tional Land Com­mis­sion, Kenya Rail­ways Cor­po­ra­tion and land own­ers in Ka­ji­ado County has deep­ened, sig­nalling a pos­si­ble de­lay in com­ple­tion of the sec­ond phase of the stan­dard gauge rail­way (SGR).

The con­tro­versy took a new twist this week af­ter some landown­ers in Oloolua ac­cused the com­mis­sion's val­uers of in­clud­ing non-existent fea­tures in tar­geted plots to in­flate the prices and fleece the pub­lic of hard-earned cash.

“My semi-per­ma­nent three-bed­room house has been changed into a bun­ga­low with a swim­ming pool in com­pen­sa­tion forms. These dis­crep­an­cies are in turn caus­ing de­lays in com­pen­sa­tion yet many of us need the money to move our fam­i­lies,” said John Ki­mani, a res­i­dent of Oloolua.

The 120 kilo­me­tre Sh150 bil­lion project is cur­rently 77 per cent com­plete. NLC

act­ing

chair­per­son Abi­gail Mba­gaya said there are 1,093 parcels of land ear­marked for com­pen­sa­tion between Syoki­mau and Ngong, but it had been dif­fi­cult to move the fam­i­lies with­out pay­ing them.

Mrs Mba­gaya said land ac­qui­si­tion for this sec­tion of the SGR has faced mul­ti­ple chal­lenges from val­u­a­tion to au­then­tic­ity of own­ers.

“The Na­tional Land Com­mis­sion is en­ti­tled to help in land ac­qui­si­tion for gov­ern­ment projects but com­pen­sa­tion is­sues as stip­u­lated in the Con­sti­tu­tion have been a daunt­ing task, es­pe­cially in pop­u­lous Ka­ji­ado North Sub-county. We urge land own­ers to be pa­tient as we iron out the grey mat­ters,’’ said Mrs Mba­gaya.

Kenya Rail­ways en­gi­neer in charge of in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment Maxwell Mengich said he was still op­ti­mistic that project will be com­pleted on time.

"If the land com­pen­sa­tion is­sues are re­solved with speed, the con­trac­tor has enough man­power and re­sources to com­plete this phase of the project as planned,’’ Mr Mengich said.

The pro­tracted land com­pen­sa­tion stand­off has forced the Chi­nese con­trac­tors work­ing on the project to skip the On­gata Ron­gai-ngong stretch of the rail­way line pend­ing res­o­lu­tion of the is­sues.

The first sec­tion of the rail­way’s phase two cut across the Nairobi Na­tional Park to On­gata Ron­gai in Ka­ji­ado North where it came to a tem­po­rary halt in the pop­u­lous Olekasasi, Limpa and Ololua es­tates as landown­ers bat­tled au­thor­i­ties for com­pen­sa­tion.

Con­struc­tion work then moved to the Ngong tun­nel, which took 23 months to com­plete.

The Ka­ji­ado North sub-county seg­ment will host two rail­way sta­tions at Kambi Moto and Em­bul Bul shop­ping cen­tres.

Ka­ji­ado North MP Joseph Manje yes­ter­day asked the gov­ern­ment to speed up com­pen­sa­tion and clear the way for the project to pro­ceed.

Work on the Ngong-mai Mahiu, Suswa and Nachu seg­ment of the rail­way is on­go­ing.

The sec­tion is the first of three seg­ments that make the sec­ond phase of SGR con­struc­tion, which is ex­pected to ter­mi­nate on Kenya’s border with Uganda at Mal­aba.

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PROJECT SGR con­struc­tion at Suswa..

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