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Construction of the 120-kilometre Nairobi-Naivasha standard gauge railway (SGR) is almost complete with engineers having certified 50 per cent of the infrastructure, the government says.
Transport Principal Secretary Paul Maringa expressed optimism that the rail will be done in time ahead of the June 2019 deadline.
“Seventy per cent of the work is done...The engineers assessment certified 50 per cent,” Mr Maringa said in an interview today.
The PS said his ministry was looking into payment claims from landowners affected by the rail.
“We have the money for the compensation,” he added.
The Nairobi-Naivasha line is funded by Exim-Bank of China at a cost Sh150 billion.
Phase 2B of the project from Naivasha to Kisumu will cost Sh350 billion, the bulk of which is expected to be financed through loans from the same lender.
On June 23, President Uhuru Kenyatta inspected the SGR Phase 2A construction and pinpointed key areas for improvement.
He also directed that land acquisition be fast-tracked and those affected compensated within a month to so that the contractor, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is not hindered by unavailability of land.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (second right) and Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku during a routine inspection of the SGR Phase 2A Project at DK2 Project Site on June 23, 2018. File Photo
The Ministry of Lands, the National Lands Commission (NLC) and Kenya Railways (KR) have deployed surveyors and valuers to various sites along Phase 2A to fast-track the land acquisition and compensation process.
A statement from KR last week said the professionals will be on the ground over the next two weeks to aid awards and final payments to landowners with proper documentation.
CRBC moved to the site last October and has since been working despite numerous challenges.
Construction works were hit by bad blood between the local Maasai community and the Chinese firm after the contractor came to the site before land compensation was done.
Building of the railway line also stalled soon after following a pay dispute with local workers.
The new line will link the planned Naivasha export processing zone and Ol Karia geothermal fields to the Sh327 billion Nairobi-Mombasa railway.
The fast passenger rail service will see Kitengela, Ngong, Ongata Rongai in Kajiado County, Kamangu in Kiambu, Suswa in Narok and Mai Mahiu get sub-stations for passenger rail services.
This article first appeared on www.businessdailyafrica.com
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