The Government has set aside Sh.2.2 billion as compensation to residents of Gatundu North whose land will be taken for the second Phase of the multi-billion Kariminu 2 dam project, Water Principal Secretary Joseph Wairagu has said.
Wairagu said requisition for the funds has been done and that the money will be released once the National Lands Commission (NLC) completes legal requirements and establishes compensation rates.
Speaking while monitoring the progress of the project on Saturday, the PS said land acquisition process was ongoing and that the NLC was in the process of establishing the number of Project Affected Persons (PAPs).
He said they want to avoid a repeat of the compensation stalemate that was witnessed during land acquisition for Phase one, that dragged the commencement of the project.
He said most of the hurdles that time involved land succession battles pitying relatives of the beneficiaries and hoped it will not be the case this time.
During Phase one, Sh.1.3 billion was spent to compensate residents for 157 acres.
“We are waiting for the NLC to finish with legal processes, establishing compensation rates and the number of those to be compensated. The funds have been set side, and once these processes are done, compensation will kick off.
“We lost two years in settling land compensation rows during Phase one and this slowed the commencement of the project. We won’t allow this to happen again and cause delays in the project completion. Funds are there to ensure timely compensation of the Project Affected Persons,” said Wairagu.
The Sh.24 billion dam is being built on a 600-acre piece of land and is jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and the China Exim Bank. International Holding Corporation (AVIC) and Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute (SMEDI) are the implementing partners.
The Phase One of the project covers 171 acres and involves dam embankment and water draw-off structures while Phase 2 will cover 429 acres for the reservoir area including the treatment plant and laying of pipes.
Already, a 408-meter long diversion tunnel that will divert water from River Kariminu into the dam has been completed.
The dam is earmarked for completion in May 2022, and is 18 per cent done. Upon completion, the 26.5 million-cubic metres-dam will have a height of 59 meters.
It will produce 70,000 cubic meters of clean water on a daily basis for irrigation and domestic use to residents of Thika, Juja, Ruiru and Nairobi.
By Muoki Charles