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Residents oppose kick off of mega electricity project before compensation

Konjora residents in Kibarani ward, Kilifi County have rejected a mega electricity project which is to pass through their land until they are fully compensated by the company undertaking it.

The  Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) is to undertake a 70 kilometre stretch of power line from Malindi sub station to Kilifi to be transmitting 220 kilo volts of power and open the area for industrial investment.

KETRACO has on the other hand pledged to compensate the line at which land for the locals shall be used as it passes through.

During a public participation meeting held at Konjora, the residents declined the project, saying compensation must be done to include land and property in their area before the kickoff, citing other areas where locals have lost after similar projects.

They claimed to have acquired the land over 50- years ago after the expiry of a lease by a British citizen during the colonial era and could no longer afford to lose it as they would have nowhere to go.

Led by area MCA, John Mwamutsi during the public participation meeting at Konjora primary school, the locals alleged that for the project to be a success, KETRACO has to compensate both the land and the amount of property they might lose.

Mwamutsi  vowed that they would not allow the project to kick off without being assured of an alternative land to settle and full compensation of property for his affected members.

The  78-year old resident of the area, Kaingu Mweni said the project cut across his homestead along with his mother’s graveside and called for its diversion if possible before it kicks off.

He said mijikenda traditions demand that he takes care of the grave and go to it to seek blessings in times of problems bedeviling his family.

An official from KETRACO in charge of the project, Ms. Celistine Auma assured the residents at the meeting that their issues shall fully be addressed before the project kicked off.

She said they have already contracted Afruca Waste and Environment Centre, a consultant company to ascertain the amount of land to be utilized and damages to be expected for the project to be implemented.

“KETRACO  is  working closely with other relevant government departments among them National Land Commission, Kenya Forest Services, Agriculture and Environment to see there is fair compensation in line with standard rates,” she said.

By  Harrison  Yeri

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