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Government kicks off compensation to pave way for irrigation project

The National Lands Commission (NLC) has already released Sh 166,551, 458 for over 300 residents of Umala in Ugunja constituency and Komenya in Alego / Usonga, to pave way for resumption of construction works of the Lower Nzoia irrigation scheme that had stalled.
Addressing County Development Implementation and Coordination committee (CDICC) meeting held at the county commissioner’s boardroom on Wednesday, the national lands commission county coordinator, Nobert Wangalwa said that the project affected persons within block “A” which is in Umala and block “B” in Komenya Kalaka and Kowala sub locations in Alego / Usonga.
“The accounts started being credited depending on the beneficiaries’ banks and we hope to be through with the exercise by Thursday, December 24, 2020,” he told the meeting that was also attended by the Presidential Delivery Unit Director in charge of Kisumu, Siaya and Homa bay counties, Jared Buoga and county police commander, Francis Kooli among others.
Addressing the meeting, the CDICC chairman, Siaya County Commissioner, Michael ole Tialal lamented that compensation delay had affected implementation of the project, forcing the government to pay a Sh 2 million penalty daily to the contractor for being idle.
“The country is losing a lot and we have already lost more than Sh 300 million as a country as penalties because of compensation delays,” he said.
Tialal said that with the compensation in blocks one and two, the contractor was expected to move with speed to resume works and called for cooperation from the public.
The Sh 7 billion Lower Nzoia irrigation project is funded by the World Bank and the Kenya government and aims at controlling the annual river Nzoia floods and also boosting crop production through irrigation.
Meanwhile, the Siaya CDICC has called on the contractor building the ultra-modern law courts in Siaya town to expedite completion of the project.
The committee members who made an impromptu visit to the project lamented that though it was 90% complete, the contractor was dragging his feet and demanding for payment despite assurances that the payment will be cleared once he hands it over.
The members lamented that the delay was taking toll on the judiciary staff who were squeezed in tiny offices, forcing them to create artificial court rooms and offices using tents.

By Philip Onyango


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