The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in Taita-Taveta County will not tolerate contractors who fail to honor environment rehabilitation and restoration clause in their contracts.
The Authority County Director, Edith Kalo said major contractors who undertook major infrastructural projects including building multi-billion roads vanished after the project was done without rehabilitation of areas where materials like sand and ballast were being mined.
Speaking to KNA on Monday, Kalo noted that such contractors violated the terms of their contract and needed to be held accountable.
She cited a case at Kidongu village in Taveta where a contractor for 100-km Mwatate-Taveta Highway left a gaping pit in the middle of village, which has become a health hazard to hundreds of local residents.
“The deep pit was used for extracting rocks for the road project but it has been left open. It is extremely dangerous for residents and their animals,” she said.
The pit is also being used by criminals to dump dead bodies killed elsewhere.
In Miasenyi area at Bachuma section along Nairobi-Mombasa Highway, another Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) contractor is also on the spot for abandoning a similar pit after he completed the road works. Efforts by NEMA to get the contractors to refill the pits have been futile as they have all left the region.
Kalo said the project owners should not to issue certificate of completion to such contractors before they rehabilitated parts of land degraded by the project use.
The County Commissioner (CC), Rhoda Onyancha said there was need for all stakeholders to cooperate to ensure that all projects were well-done and concluded on time, adding that contractors working on development projects in the region had legal and contractual obligations to ensure they adhered to rule of law.
When contacted, the KeNHA Regional Engineer, Jared Makori said he had not received complaints from NEMA, over the abandoned pits in the region. He declined to make further comments over the matter. “I am not aware of such cases,” he said.
However, affected residents continue to cry out asking to have those hazardous sites secured. Isaac Makau, a resident of Kidong village, said a big pit was left in the village and was dangerous to the locals. The pit becomes more perilous during rainy seasons when it fills up with water.
He further added that the contractor had left without paying compensation for destruction caused by dynamites on houses during breaking on rock cliffs.
“The contractor left after he was finished but left a dangerous hole in the village. The walls of our houses are all cracked,” Makau said.
There are over 200 families at the village who are demanding for compensation from the contractor over the destruction of their homes.
By Wagema Mwangi