While a major challenge for government entities implementing infrastructure projects has been land owners asking for too much money for the use of their land, Ketraco cannot find the owners of the land where it plans to build power transmission lines to be able to pay them.
The company, tasked with building and operating high voltage electricity lines, on Tuesday listed 142 land owners it cannot trace in Laikipia, Meru and Isiolo Counties. It is building a 96 kilometre transmission lines between Nanyuki and Isiolo and needs to pay the people whose parcels of land will host the pylons and masts that will carry the transmission lines.
Tuesday's notice to the people whose property stands on wayleave for the Nanyuki-Isiolo line comes after a similar notice to several landowners in Kajiado County were issued with a similar notice.
It said the land owners who do not show up within 30 days will not lose their payments but would be compensated when they eventually show up. They will not have a say in how the company uses their land.
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“Ketraco is currently constructing the 132kV (Kilovolts) Nanyuki-Isiolo transmission line which is traversing land parcels in Laikipia, Isiolo, and Meru Counties and covering a total of 96 kilometres,” said the company in a notice.
“Compensation of limited loss of land use has been ongoing since 2013. Ketraco hereby gives 30 days’ notice… to the projected affected persons (PAPs), that is, absentee land owners who have not had any contact with Ketraco despite meetings organised in the project areas, to contact Ketraco for purposes of identification and compensation for limited loss of use of land for their affected land parcels.”
“Those who do not respond… will have their compensation set aside for payment when they present their claims for the same.”
It is also facing the same challenge with the Isinya-Namanga line, which is expected to improve the connectivity of Tanzania and Kenya’s power sectors. Ketraco last week listed some 53 land owners on the route that have not established contact since 2017 when it made a call on land owners to come forward and receive compensation and allow the company to construct its power lines.
While absentee property owners may be problematic for the company, the major challenge has been those who ask for too much money before they can allow Ketraco to proceed with its projects.
This has in the past resulted in major delays and times translated to higher cost of constructing the power lines. There are also instances where communities have declined to give the company access to their land, for instance, where a planned project traverses places traditionally used for religious purposes and viewed as sacred.