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Gatundu residents affected by Kariminu dam overflow to be compensated

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The Government has set aside Ksh 150 million in the Supplementary budget to compensate Gatundu North residents affected by Kariminu II dam overflow.

Water Cabinet Secretary Zachary Njeru said that some 122 locals, whose properties including land and homes are on the verge of being submerged by the already full mega dam, will be compensated and relocated.

Speaking on Monday during an impromptu visit to assess the situation at the dam after spilling commenced on Saturday morning, the CS noted that the process of compensating and moving the locals forom Iruri, Kiriko, Gathanji and Kanyoni villages to safer areas has been initiated by the government.

The CS, who was accompanied by Principal Secretary Julius Korir and Athi Water Service Board Acting CEO Eng Joseph Kamau, divulged that valuation of the resident’s properties is being fast tracked in a bid to speed up the process.

He noted that the exercise is being conducted in a fair and transparent manner to the locals’ satisfaction in order to avoid any standoffs. This is after some of the affected persons raised concerns that they are being kept in the dark in the valuation exercise.

Njeru at the same time reiterated that the government will connect locals living in villages around the multi-billion dam to an all-time flow of water in their homes. Locals had petitioned the government to supply them with sufficient water for domestic use before pumping it to other regions including Nairobi, Juja and Ruiru.

The CS also dispelled fears that other mega dams including Sasumua and Ndakaini dams are posing a threat to locals living downstream saying that they are in good condition and are being monitored.

He at the same time noted that the government is working closely with Gatundu North residents who have been affected by the proposed Ksh 13 billion Ndarugu II dam that has been marred by controversies.

A section of residents from Githobokoni, Mwimuto, Watathi, Gatei and Gathaite villages, where the dam is earmarked to be implemented, have been opposing construction of the dam vowing not to cede their ancestral land for the project. They have already lodged a case against implementation of the project at the Lands and Environment Court in Thika.

But Njeru divulged that the government is in talks with the land owners and hinted that consensus will soon be arrived at and pave way for the project’s commencement.

Meanwhile, the CS asserted that the Kenya Kwanza government is keen on constructing more mega dams to aid in water harvesting and especially in flood-prone areas and during rainy seasons.

He cited the proposed construction of the grand falls dam in Tana River County that will be a multi-purpose dam with a hydro power plant. It will also provide locals with domestic and irrigation water.

KBC Correspondent
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