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Kericho residents protest over proposed gas plant project

Residents of Kericho town have raised concern over the establishment of gas storage and refilling plant worth Sh50 million by a private developer at a land near residential area.

The irate public who took to the streets of Kericho town in protest also claimed that the up- coming gas refilling and storage plant poses a health risk to the people who reside nearby.

According to the Kericho Boda boda Association Chair, Edwin Koros, the Gas plant is being established in a residential area and the proximity to academic institutions may hugely interrupt learning process owing to environmental pollution that may allegedly cause respiratory complications to students.

“Concerned parties never conducted public participation to get the views of Kericho residents on the development of the plant that may negatively affect the lives both socially and economically,” said Mr Koros.

Chanting slogans and waving placards, the protestors’ majority of who were Boda boda riders called upon the National and County government to reconsider the relocation of the plant.

On his defense, The Gas Project Proprietor Nicholas Kirui disputed the claims by the protestors that the land was acquired fraudulently, saying that the property where the project is being constructed was acquired 21 years ago and they have been paying rates to the County Government.

“The project has started with a retaining wall. Prior to this we got all the licenses from the County Government and were subjected to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for appraisals and Environmental impact assessment,” Mr Nicholas Kirui said.

At the same time, Mr Kirui revealed that after conducting market and consumer survey they discovered that there was a big demand for Liquefied Petroleum Gas which was majorly imported from other Counties hence a need to establish a plant that could store and refill gas in Kericho.

“We discovered that all the gas that is consumed in Kericho County came from other Counties such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Narok and Nakuru and this project will also contribute positively to the economy and also provide employment opportunities to the area residents.” added Mr Kirui.

The Kericho County Lands, Housing and Physical Planning CEC Barnabas Ng’eno stated categorically that the ongoing construction of the gas plant in Kericho is on private land.

He added that the private investment boarders a public cemetery which he pointed out that its boundaries are intact and have not been encroached.

“I can confirm to you that the gas plant investment was acquired legally by a private developer and is on a private land so there is no cause of alarm,” Mr Ng’eno assured.

By Kibe Mburu and Byegon Alfric

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