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Lamu County puts coal-fired power plant on hold

Wednesday August 10 2016

A worker loads coal onto a truck at the Sanyuan

A worker loads coal onto a truck at the Sanyuan mine in China. The Lamu coal plant is meant to open Kenya’s northern frontier as well as increase Kenya’s power generation capacity. PHOTO | FILE 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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The Lamu County Assembly has rejected an environmental and social impact assessment report by investors on a proposed Sh200 billion coal-fired power plant.

The assembly wants the project owners to come up with a resettlement plan for residents who will lose their land to the project.

The plant, to be set up at Kwasasi in Hindi by Amu Power Company, is expected to generate over 1,050 megawatts of electricity.

Company officials and experts who attended the assembly sitting on Monday to explain the report had to leave after MCAs said they would not discuss the report until the fate of affected residents was made clear.

So far, 975.4 acres have been set aside for the project, with 600 land owners expected to be affected.

Deputy Speaker Azhar Mbarak, who is also Shella MCA, said there was an urgent need for the project owners to fully elaborate on what they planned to do with displaced residents.

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“We will not peruse this report until Amu Power comes up with a clear resettlement plan for the over 600 residents,” said Mr Azhar.

County Lands Committee chairman Husuni Alawi said the MCAs were not opposed to the project but wanted transparency and accountability from the investors.

“The coal plant investors should understand that this is a mega project and they must understand the position of the leadership of the county concerning such an investment. We need a resettlement plan at the assembly, failure to which you will have it rough,” said Mr Alawi.

Amu Power Company Director Habib Jelani promised to ensure a plan is presented to the assembly soon.

The proposed plant is meant to provide Kenyans with electricity at a cheaper price.

The project also seeks to meet increased demand for electricity due to the establishment of proposed industrial parks, the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor (Lapsset) projects, resort cities, iron and steel smelting industries and the standard gauge railway.