NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has assured of land compensation to those whose land will be occupied by Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Speaking while he launched construction of Phase 2A of the project, he urged Kenyans to cooperate with the contractors in a bid for them to finish their job in time.
He condemned politicians who are using politics to hinder the development of the railway.
“If we remove the contractors, who will build the railway? Do not listen to politicians who are against development,” President Kenyatta told residents of Kajiado County.
He said Kenyans will benefit from the project as the contractor is required to ensure that at least 40 percent of all materials are sourced locally and create jobs.
“This will not only expand our factories but also create more jobs for our people the first phase of the project from Mombasa to Nairobi scheduled to be complete in June 1, 2017 created about 40, 000 jobs,” President Kenyatta said.
On his part, Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina defended the route of the railway that passes through the National Park saying that it was the cheapest and most commercial viable route.
Speaking at the sidelines of the launch, Maina says the route was among the seven routes surveyed as viable.
He says the corporation is in discussions with conservationists in a bid to help them understand the viability of the project.
“The Savannah route was considered to be the most viable after a rigorous social economic review that included human settlements, public facilities and commercial activities” he stated.
Conservationists have been up in arms over the project with some holding protests over its route.
Construction on the Nairobi-Naivasha extension dubbed Phase 2A line, which will connect special economic zones upcountry with the port of Mombasa, is set to commence in the first quarter of 2017.
It is part of the wider East African railway network connecting Mombasa, Kampala, Kigali and Juba.
The Nairobi-Naivasha line will run from West end of the Nairobi South hub through the Nairobi National Park all the way to the proposed industrial parks in Mai Mahiu and Suswa.
The industrial parks will be built in Naivasha in Nakuru County and also in Narok County leveraged on development of geothermal energy.
Maina says the SGR line will pass through raised bridges in the Tsavo and Nairobi National Parks to ensure smooth flow of wildlife.
In addition to installation of noise deflectors to minimize noise from trains, the bridge pillar foundations in the national parks are sunk in the ground to reduce vibrations during the operation of the modern trains.
The construction will be done by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).
The 120 kilometre line will be built at a cost of US$1.5billion.
Experts projections indicate that, once completed, the SGR will add 1.5 percent to the country’s GDP while boosting intra-African trade by supporting the tourism industry and reducing the cost of transportation.