Maa­sai, lobby call for for new SGR route to spare na­tional park

This rerout­ing will avoid dis­rupt­ing ecosys­tems lead­ing to the slow but sure death of the park, say con­ser­va­tion­ists

The Star (Kenya) - - News - RAMADHAN RAJAB @Rra­jab

The Maa­sai com­mu­nity and con­ser­va­tion­ists yes­ter­day pro­posed a new route for phase two of the stan­dard gauge rail­way to save Nairobi Na­tional Park.

This comes as pub­lic re­sis­tance mounts to the gov­ern­ment’s favoured plan that would bi­sect the park but run above it on a bridge sup­ported by pil­lars.

The new pro­posal would spare the park and ad­ja­cent land that acts as a dis­per­sal area for wildlife.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­posed route seen by the Star, the SGR line would be di­verted from Konza City, skirt fur­ther south be­hind Kiten­gela town, then run down to Isinya to Cor- ner Baridi to Ngong. “Re-rout­ing the SGR South of Nairobi means the line can head ei­ther East or West of Ngong Hills,” the pro­pos­als says.

It adds that go­ing through the park only leaves the East op­tion.

“Our ra­tio­nale for the rerout­ing de­mand will save gov­ern­ment from putting up a tun­nel on Kibiko and cut costs of putting up [bridge] el­e­va­tions pil­lars if the park op­tion has to be adopted,” said Steve Itela, chief of op­er­a­tions, Africa Net­work for An­i­mal Wel­fare.

Itela said a sim­ple junc­tion fur­ther South of Nairobi Na­tional Park would en­able cargo to head di­rectly for Naivaisha or Nairobi. “The al­ready con­structed line to Nairobi and de­pot is still vi­able and there is no need for SGR to dou­ble back on it­self,” he said.

Nka­muno Patita said hav­ing the line cut through the park will de­struc­tion the mi­gra­tory cor­ri­dors of wildlife. She is among those lead­ing cam­paigns to have the SGR rerouted.

Patita said rerout­ing will avoid dis­rupt­ing the ecosys­tem that may lead to ‘slow but sure’ death of the park.

The land south of Nairobi and Tuala has less eco­nomic value than the ‘price­less’ Nairobi Na­tional Park and the Em­pakasi-Oloosirkon area.

The den­sity of hu­man set­tle­ment is also much lower, hence, the SGR would have lower im­pact on wildlife and com­mu­ni­tiey, she said.

“In ad­di­tion to de­stroy­ing our her­itage, On­gata Ron­gai and sur­round­ing ar­eas are densely pop­u­lated, so that land has greater value, mean­ing com­pen­sa­tion will be higher. And thereis more in­fra­struc­ture that will be de­mol­ished,” Patita said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.