Kenya: China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), the firm constructing the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), has refuted claims that dust from a crusher plant had forced a school in Makueni to relocate.
The company said the planned movement of Matangini Primary School to a new site at Mang’alete was a temporary measure and the result of a mutual agreement between the company and the school, in consultation with local leaders.
CRBC’s Liaison Manager Julius Li said the planned movement to a new location is as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CRBC and the school.
“Under the terms of the agreement, which was borne out of extensive consultations between CRBC, the school and local leaders, we undertook to fully finance the construction of a new facility at the proposed site. The project has already started and we are on schedule for its hand over to the local community on April 26, ahead of the May 3 deadline, and in time for the new school term,” Li said.
His sentiments were supported by Kenya Railways’ SGR Project Manager Maxwell Mengich.
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Mengich took issue with the “erroneous impression” created in a section of the media that the re-location was a spontaneous reaction by the local community. He defended the contractor following accusations by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana that CRBC had flouted agreements with the county government on the acquisition of raw materials and environmental laws.
“Such accusations should be hinged on demonstrable facts. As Kenya Railways, we are not aware of any such breaches. We have always encouraged consultations between CRBC, the local communities and leaders to ensure the project meets its objectives in a sustainable manner for the mutual benefit of all the parties,” added Mengich.
According to the terms of the MoU signed on March 30, CRBC agreed to provide mutually acceptable structures for use as school offices, stores, classrooms and washrooms by pupils and teachers of Matangini Primary School. It would also to supply water to the school on a weekly basis.
Li said the firm has also deployed the latest permanent dust-mitigating equipment to ensure the lives of local residents are not disrupted by dust from the plant.