By Munene Kamau
Kirinyaga, KENYA: A coffee factory and two schools are among properties earmarked for demolition to pave way for the construction of a Sh12 billion dam at the Mwea rice scheme.
Kaboyo Coffee Factory, Kiathi Primary School and Jema Falls Academy will benefit from the Sh3.6 billion resettlement kitty set aside by the board for compensation.
The Rukenya dam, whose construction is scheduled to commence next month, will see families being relocated to Gathigiriri, Ndomba and Wamumu areas of Mwea.
According to the NIB Mwea Scheme Manager Hosea Wendot, the families will be settled in the three areas where amenities including schools, water and power supplies as well as health care facilities will be provided.
Wendot said children from Kiathi Primary School would be integrated with those at Gathigiriri.
“We have already assessed the physical needs of the extra pupils to join Gathigiriri, Wamumu and Ndomba primary schools and part of the Sh12 billion has been factored for this purpose,” he said.
He said the affected families will also be moved to their new settlements which will have facilities that will see them enjoy more comfort than their old abounds.
“Except for very few cases where families are entangled in legal disputes, most of those affected are receiving their compensations as scheduled,” he said.
The official also said those who had opted to be paid cash for their shambas and property to go and look for alternative settlements have since been cleared and it was upon them to vacate the site.
He said everything was being done in the most dignified manner and expressed hope that by May, when schools reopen after the Easter holidays, all children from Kiathi and Jema Falls Academy would have been relocated to their new schools.
As for the coffee factory, Wendot said the Kabare Farmers Cooperative Society will know what to do with its membership so they are not affected by the relocation.
An official of the coffee factory said they were still waiting for compensation since they had already given up their title deeds.
“Our worry is that we were to get compensated two weeks later but it is now running to months,” said the official who declined to be named.
The Japanese Government has financed the multi-billion project and will see Mwea rice famers double the production by growing two crops in a year.