The National Development Implementation Technical Committee (NDITC) has asked Malindi residents living on land earmarked for the expansion of the Malindi International Airport to stop constructing new buildings.
The committee who comprised nine Principal Secretaries noted that a consultant had already conducted a valuation of the property on the earmarked land and warned that those who put up new buildings would go at a loss as they would not be compensated.
Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache who led the team told journalists after a meeting with the airport management that more land was needed for the extension of the main runway from the current 1.4 kilometers to about 2.5 kilometers to allow international planes to land directly at the airport.
“It has been the intention of the government for many years to expand this airport since tourists from Europe would love to have their planes land here directly,” Mochache said adding that lack of land had been a challenge in implementing the project.
“The biggest challenge is on the issue of land. The runway here is still very small, that is 1.4 km, and there is still more 1.1 kilometers needed so that we can adequately land the kind of aircrafts we need,” she said.
Airport Manager Mr. Mohamed Karama said Sh5 billion would be required to compensate squatters for their developments as well as buy the land from its legal owners before the actual construction, which was expected to cost another Sh5 billion.
He explained that the land is owned by private individuals but that it had been invaded by squatters who had constructed buildings on it. The squatters would only be compensated for the building while the owners will sell the land to the government.
Karama said a consultant had already conducted an environmental impact assessment of the project and a relocation action plan, whose report had already been approved by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
“The Kenya Airports Authority engaged a consultant to conduct the environmental impact assessment and also come up with the relocation action plan. It has been approved by NEMA and what remains is the funds from the government,” he said.
The Kenya Airports authority plans to, among others, extend the main runway to the north from the current 1.4 kilometres to 2.5 kilometres to be able to allow large airbuses to land with ease and thus boost tourism in the resort havens of Malindi, Watamu and Mambrui.
Members of the NDITC who accompanied Mochache included Principal Secretaries Nelson Marwa, Belio Kipsang, Hamadi Boga, Esther Koimet, Josephetha Mukobe, Micha Powon, Dr. Kevit Desai, and Ibrahim Mohamed.
They later toured the project area accompanied by members of the Kilifi County Development Implementation Committee (CDICC) led by County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka and officers from the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU).
By Emmanuel Masha and Mercelline Tumaini