• The National Land Commission has started the land acquisition process for phase two.
• Already, the government has spent Sh1.3 billion to compensate residents for 157 acres of Phase I.
The national government will spend Sh2.2 billion to compensate Gatundu North residents whose land will be taken for phase two of Kariminu II Dam project.
Water PS Joseph Wairagu said the National Land Commission is laying out legal procedures and establishing compensation rates to start the process.
He said the commission will also establish the number of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) who will be compensated for their land and properties. The valuation process has already been completed.
The dam will be constructed on 600 acres and is being done in two phases. Phase one will cover 171 acres for the dam's embankment and water draw-off structures, while phase II will cover 429 acres for the reservoir area.
Already, the government has spent Sh1.3 billion to compensate residents for 157 acres of Phase I. Succession issues and family disputes have hindered the contractor from acquiring the remaining 14 acres.
“Requisition for the phase II compensation funds has been done and the ministry is ready to release the money once NLC completes the legal requirements. Resources for completion of this project are intact,” Wairagu said on Saturday. He spoke while inspecting the Sh4 billion project’s progress.
The PS assured that there will be no recap of the compensation stalemate witnessed during land acquisition for phase one between residents of Kiriko, Gathanji, Buchana and Kariminu and the government.
“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,” he said.
Wairagu said the project is expected to be completed by May 2022. Currently, the project is 18 per cent complete.
The PS further said the state has intervened in the employment impasse pitting residents and the contractor. He said more people will be hired as the project picks pace.
Residents have been holding protests and threatening to halt operations if they are not hired. They accused the contractor, Avic International Holding Corporation, of hiring ‘outsiders’.
"Sixty-seven per cent of workers here are from Kiambu county, which is still not satisfactory, but we are calling for patience from residents and assuring them that the issue of employment is being looked at. We are optimistic that at the peak of this project, the contractor will hire more than 2,000 people,” Wairagu said.
Edited by A.N