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Lamu coal plant victims to take action against govt

Friday February 22 2019

coal plant

Lamu residents on December 6, 2016 protest against the proposed coal plant project in Hindi. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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The planned construction of a coal plant in Lamu County is yet to make hundreds of residents smile.

More than 600 farmers whose 975 acres of land at Kwasasi village, Lamu West, was acquired by the government in 2016 to pave way for the Ksh200 billion project have not yet been compensated.

The farmers’ spokesperson, Mr Abdulrahman Aboud, on Friday poked holes on the delay.

"Years have passed without us being given a dime as compensation for our land. We are worried. Some of us might even die without receiving the long-awaited compensation.

"We feel the delay is an intentional move by the concerned investor and the government to dupe us. We need our compensation," Mr Aboud said.

ULTIMATUM

The project is being undertaken by Amu Power Company, a consortium of Gulf Energy and Centum Investment, and is expected to generate 1,050 megawatts.

Mr Aboud observed that many farmers have been impoverished because they do not have other sources of income.

Another farmer, Mr Athman Salim, said they have given the government until next month to pay them, otherwise they will demand their land back.

"We are tired of leaving our land idle. Majority of the farmers here have nowhere else to carry out farming and sustain themselves.

"Poverty has affected all of us. They should either compensate us or we take back our land," he said, with his fellow resident Fatuma Hamisi threatening court action against the government.

VALUATION

In 2017 the National Land Commission completed verification of farmers and land valuation, and said Sh800 million would be used to pay the farmers - Sh800,000 per acre.

They are still hoping to get the money. "We won’t let it go like that. The NLC identified and verified all the land owners here. All of us were cleared. They even did land valuation.

"We know each acre will be paid at Sh800,000; that means everything had been finalised. But somehow the monies remain elusive. We are telling them to either compensate us as soon as possible or we take the matter to court," Ms Hamisi said.