President Uhuru Kenyatta has officially opened Phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Nairobi to Naivasha for passenger services.
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is expected to promote development in East African countries, including Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda which also has a dry port in Naivasha.
“The railway is a development and it will boost development in this region," said President Uhuru during the launch.
The President has also urged Kenyans to avoid negative publicity regarding development projects in the country as he pledged completion of the remaining bit of SGR to Malaba border.
"We will complete the railway and we shall transform Kenya,” said Uhuru Kenyatta.
The event started at Syokimau and ended in Mai Mahiu with the President opening open various stations along the way.
The Sh150 billion line cuts across Nairobi, Kajiado, Narok and Nakuru.
The line has four passenger stations namely; Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu and Suswa and one inter-change station at Nachu station.
According to National Lands Commission, a total amount of Sh17.6 billion has been spent on compensation so far.
Traders along the line have welcomed the launch and are optimistic that the project will open up business opportunities.
President Uhuru has also commission works on the Inland Container Depot (ICD) located within the planned Dry Port near Mai Mahiu town.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta arrive at Nairobi Terminus for the official launch of Phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railway. Phase 2A stretches from Nairobi to Suswa. pic.twitter.com/N1iX83G6EX
The completion of the 120.49 kilometres (Phase 2A) project whose construction began in 2017 had been delayed following a compensation tussle between the affected persons and the Kenya Railways.
According to Kenya Railways and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the project was set for completion in May with commencement of commuter services expected by June 1.
The contractor, CCCC, had said that the 35- kilometers stretch between Embul Bul (Ngong) and the Nairobi National Park was highly affected as a result of delayed land compensation.
The launch comes even as reports are emerging that a group of residents has moved to court to stop the relocation of families living on the 1,000-acre land earmarked for the special economic zone.
“The case is being handled by the concerned Government department as the affected families had been compensated by Kedong ranch with 4,000 acres,” said Naivasha sub-county commissioner Mbogo Mathioya.
However, Narok East MP Ken Aramat said more than 10,000 families would be affected by the project and the 4,000 acres provided would not be enough.