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Landowners stall power line project

By Macharia Kamau | October 29th 2020
By Macharia Kamau | October 29th 2020
3D Electric powerlines over sunrise. [File, Standard]

One of the major challenges for State entities implementing infrastructure projects is agreeing on the amount of money to pay landowners for the use of their land.

But one agency is facing a different headache altogether.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) cannot trace owners of land on which it plans to build power transmission lines in three counties.

The company, tasked with building and operating high voltage electricity lines, yesterday said it cannot locate 142 landowners in Laikipia, Meru and Isiolo counties where is building a 96km transmission line between Nanyuki and Isiolo. The agency needs to compensate property owners whose land will host pylons and masts that will carry the transmission lines.

Yesterday’s notice comes after a similar one to a number of landowners in Kajiado County. Ketraco said the landowners who do not show up within 30 days would, however, not lose out as their compensation would be processed later once they contact the agency.  

“Compensation of limited loss of land use of land has been ongoing since 2013. Ketraco hereby gives 30 days’ notice… to the projected affected persons, that is, absentee landowners who have not had any contact with Ketraco despite meetings organised in the project areas, to contract 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’s and Kenya’s power sectors. Ketraco last week listed some 53 landowners on the route that have not established contact since 2017 to 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 at times translated into a higher cost of constructing the power lines.

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