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Nairobi-Naivasha SGR extension meets land ownership dispute

RIFT VALLEY
By Antony Gitonga | May 2nd 2016

The extension of the standard gauge railway (SGR) from Nairobi to Naivasha has met resistance from land owners.

The land dispute emerged days after the Chinese contractor moved in.

Four families have laid claim to the land where the contractor is putting up a site office on Nyakinyua Farm near Mai Mahiu town.

The Maasai have also vowed to block the railway line from passing through the Kedong Ranch terming it their ancestral land.

Naivasha Sub-County Commissioner Isaac Masinde said the four families had documents proving ownership of the land in question.

Following the dispute, Mr Masinde summoned the families, officers of the Nyakinyua Land Buying Company and the contractors for a meeting.

"A dispute over the construction of the site office has emerged but we are confident that this will be resolved and the works will start as per schedule in September," he said.

Masinde said the contractors had failed to inform his office of their plans adding that the dispute would have been easily resolved.

Apart from the land row, two communities in the area are also wrangling over the supply of sand and construction stones for the project.

The administrator called on the residents to respect the rule of law saying the SGR is one of the Government's key projects that will create employment and improve investment.

"Some communities are already wrangling as to who is supposed to supply sand but through discussions, we shall definitely resolve this," he said.

This came as area residents were put on high alert over unscrupulous 'surveyors' claiming to be responsible for identifying and marking the SGR route.

Welcoming the decision to extend the railway to Naivasha, former area MP John Mututho said it would give residents an opportunity to advance economically.

"We are grateful for the move but we are warning residents to be wary of people claiming to be responsible for identifying land where the railway will pass through at a fee," he said.

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