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November 18, 2018

City to spare Oshwal Temple, monuments from demolition

Oshwal centre that is build on a riparian land./EZEKIEL AMING'A
Oshwal centre that is build on a riparian land./EZEKIEL AMING'A

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko has maintained that sections of the multibillion-shilling Oshwal Centre in Westlands will be demolished in efforts to recover riparian land.

He said the Hindu religious centre sits on a river and will not be spared.

The county government has already issued the Oshwal management a notice to vacate the property.

“The regeneration committee has recommended demolition of about 4,000 buildings, which are either on riparian land or along the Nairobi River,” Sonko said.

"We want to be as humane as possible to avoid subjecting people to losses."

Sonko, however, said the temple and all the monumental structures will not be touched. Only parts of the perimeter wall and one of its hall will be brought down.

On Saturday, the management of Visa Oshwal centre hired two bulldozers, which started pulling down the perimeter wall that faced Nakumatt Ukay.

Vice chairman Jinit Shah said authorities have notified them of the modifications required and will comply.

He said the building has not obstructed water flow because all procedures were followed and approvals granted.

"Members must, however, understand that the government outlines new policies and as law-abiding citizens, we must at all times comply. As a result, some degree of demolition has been done today," Shah said.

He urged members of the centre not to spread rumours on social media about the demolition. Shah said this might complicate the initiatives being taken to restore the centre.

The centre was established by the Oshwal community from Asian foundation incorporated in December 15, 1988.

Oshwal, which comfortably accommodates 4,000 people, has three entrances — one from Mpaka Road, another from Maua Close and the main entrance from Ring Road, Westlands.

It consists of two large dining halls, two large and two medium-sized kitchens with cold room facilities and a wedding hall with attached changing rooms and banqueting equipment.

There are four outdoor landscaped gardens adjacent to the main building.

The centre also has an eight-acre ground that includes a walking/jogging track, sports field, tennis and basketball courts.

Its auditorium, which has 630 seats in two tiers, is Nairobi’s most modern, comfortable and well-equipped facility for performances.

Performers can use two dressing rooms, which can accommodate up to 100 people and they can relax in two green rooms adjacent to the stage.

Within the centre is a 4000 sq ft, Fee paying library which is only accessible for all its members.

The centre also offers free parking lots, whereby the basement parking lot which has capacity to accommodate 350 cars and 150 on the outside.

So far Java House Kileleshwa, South End Mall and Ukay Mall in Westlands which is near Oshwal have been brought down.

President Kenyatta on Thursday said the operation will continue and directed for the prosecution of government officials who approved setting up of such buildings.

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