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Plans underway to begin Standard Gauge Railway project in August

By PATRICK BEJA | May 28th 2014
By PATRICK BEJA | May 28th 2014
President Uhuru Kenyatta launching the Standard Gauge Railway project last year.

MOMBASA, KENYA: Construction of the Sh327 billion Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi is set to begin in August after the acquisition of 11,000 acres along its proposed route, officials have said.

Construction is being delayed by the land-buying process, a team from the Transport ministry, Kenya Railway Corporation (KR) and National Land Commission (NLC) said at a strategy meeting in Mombasa yesterday.

Officials said China Roads and Bridges Corporation, the contractor, has moved to the ground after setting up the main campsite in Mtito Andei town and another at the Nairobi South station.

Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli said NLC has been brought on board to help fast track the land purchase.

Speaking at the meeting at Voyager Hotel, Mr Muli said the Government has set aside the initial Sh9 billion to compensate land owners, adding that more funds would be made available from the railway development levy.

The project strategists are set to assess the route mapped for the railway track from Mombasa to Nairobi today. Ministry officials are also scheduled to meet governors in counties where the railway line will be constructed.

“We have involved NLC to ensure land is acquired in accordance with the law,” Muli said.

KR Managing Director Atanas Maina said the contractor was set to begin in August, when 60 per cent of the required land should have been purchased.

“The contractor is waiting for the land to be acquired,” Maina said.

Also present were NLC Chief Executive Officer Tom Aziz Chivangi, Chairman of the Land Acquisition and Taxation Committee Tom Konyimbih, who is also an NLC commissioner, and top officials from the ministries of Transport and Lands.

Dr Konyimbih assured land owners that they would be compensated.

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