The planned construction of Sh63 billion twin mega dams of Kimwarer and Arror in Elgeyo Marakwet got a boost after the National Lands Commission (NLC) began the process of compensation for land.
The NLC has already identified over 800 families to be resettled to pave way for the dams that promise to change fortunes in the Kerio Valley area.
According to NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri, Sh6.8 billion will be used for compensation in a process that will involve the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) officials.
The CMC Di Ravenna-Itinera Spa – an Italian firm picked to construct the dam -- will alongside the NLC and KVDA for the next two weeks work with community liaison officers to reach out to people affected by the project.
In the compensation process, Swazuri said the right procedure will be followed and all displaced families will benefit. Some families have opted for a land-to-land arrangement in which they will be given alternative parcels instead of cash. The commission has identified land in Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu counties for this purpose.
“All landowners will be issued with copies of the Gazette notice to facilitate the confirmation of details of their names and land acreages and development. This will ensure a smooth compensation process,” said Swazuri.
Also affected in the project is the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) that will surrender 400 acres of forest land in exchange of 570 acres that will be bought by the NLC a few kilometres away. This means KFS will receive an additional 170 acres in the compensation programme.
Yesterday, KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop told Saturday Standard that the contractor was already on site and once compensation is concluded, the construction will be launched.
“We have owners of huge parcels in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia who have agreed to sell part of their land to the families that will be affected by the construction of the dam,” said Kimosop.
Swazuri said they will fast track the compensation process so that the contractors can start works on time. The dams will be used for irrigation purposes to boost food production in the region and provide clean water for households.
Kimosop said the dams are set to open up the region with its undulating hills and valleys to great economic opportunities, thus transforming livelihoods of the people.
“Itinera Spa is already on site for the start of the project with the main designer being Lombardi SA from Switzerland,” he said.
Itinera Spa, the contractor, is one of the leading construction companies by size, revenues and portfolio.
The firm is expected to put in latest technologies in the projects that will cumulatively irrigate over hundred thousands of hectares of land, generate 80 megawatts of hydro electric power and provide clean water for households.
Itinera Spa Project Manager Mauro Abbafati said his firm was set for the commencement of the project. He said skilled personnel and a workforce of about 3,000 people will undertake the construction works.
“The Itinera management and staff come with a wealth of experience, having constructed multipurpose dams across the world with over 1,000,000 hectares for irrigation,” said Abbafati.
He said the project will take KVDA 60 months to complete, and will include construction of four tourist hotels and three schools.
Percivalle PierPaolo, Itinera Spa Africa Manager, said his firm has actively participated in the construction of roads and infrastructure, railways and metros, hospitals and airports.
“Itinera was incorporated in 1938, as a construction company to perform construction and EPC projects, in segments of roads and railway infrastructures, tunnels and underground works, civil construction, motorway maintenance and prefabricated structures,” said PierPaolo.
It has presence in 20 countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Oman, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.
It has presence in 20 countries among them Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Oman, Portugal, Denmwark, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States among others PierPaolo explained.
“It boasts a consolidated experience in the development, financing, management and maintenance of roads and motorway infrastructures and is fourth biggest operator in the world of motorway concession, with approximately 4,156 of road network,” added PierPaolo.
The twin dams are likely to transform the scenic Kerio Valley escarpment and help cut down on the level of cattle rustling in the sprawling valley that covers Makwet East, West, Baringo North and Tiaty constituencies.