By Willis Oketch
Mombasa, Kenya: A new multi-million shillings Container Freight Station at Miritini area in Mombasa is yet to start operations because Kenya Power has not removed power lines on the road leading to the depot.
The standoff over the depot constructed at a cost of Sh450 million has renewed a three-year-old dispute with the power company that was ordered by the Mombasa High Court to remove the power lines.
KP is yet to comply with court orders compelling it to remove the power lines issued by the Mombasa High Court on March 5, 2010 as well as a separate order by the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council.
Former municipal Town Clerk Tubman Otieno wrote to KP on March 10 following the court orders asking it to “liaise with the contractor, Mediterranean Shipping Company Container Depot, with a view to having these poles relocated off the road and at correct depths”.
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In this letter, Mr Otieno told KP to “treat the issue as urgent”, warning that the State corporation risked incurring costs for any delays.
He also noted that the council had embarked on construction of an access road to the CFS to fulfil the court order, which Kenya Power did not contest, but had realised that power lines or “poles are right on the road carriage way, an indication that the power line was placed with disregard to the proposed road”.
Now the CFS project manager Duncan Maina says its operations might not take off any time soon due to the power company’s non-compliance. The CFS is projected to hold over 8,000 containers at a time.
“The project is ready for operation but unfortunately the road leading to it has not been completed because the electric poles, which were erected by Kenya Power, have not been removed,” Maina said in Mombasa Sunday.
Mr Maina has written to Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho seeking intervention in order to compel Kenya Power to co-operate. Efforts to secure a comment from the local Kenya Power spokesman Mahaga Bomba were unsuccessful because calls to his cell-phone went unanswered.
But regional manager Joseph Mkomba said he was not aware of the court order.