KWS grants railway 'right of way' through parks - Daily Nation
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KWS, Land commission allow Standard Gauge Railway to pass through national parks

Tuesday October 14 2014

A sample of the Standard Gauge Railway. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT

A sample of a standard gauge railway. The proposed standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Malaba will be allowed to pass through sections of three national parks after the National Land Commission and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) agreed on a plan. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EVELYNE MUSAMBI
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The standard gauge railway will be allowed to pass through sections of national parks after the National Land Commission and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) agreed on a plan.

In a public notice published on Tuesday in the Daily Nation, KWS and the National Land Commission acknowledged that a "right of way" to develop the standard gauge railway had been granted.

“The right of way for the proposed Standard Gauge Railway has a width of 130 metres. The total Protected Area affected is 10.38 square kilometres,” explained the notice in part.

The proposed railway from Mombasa to Malaba, through Nairobi and Kisumu, was scheduled to pass through sections of the Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Nairobi National parks.

The notice further explained that the decision to allow the right of way for the proposed railway was in recognition of the convergence of conservation and development for the growth of the country.

“Kenya Railways has undertaken to acquire additional land for wildlife under the principle of ‘willingness to pay for conservation’ for affected wildlife habitat,” clarified the notice.

DELAYED ACQUISITION

KWS further stated that additional land will later be acquired to increase the conservation area.

Delayed acquisition of land was blamed for the slow implementation of the railway project, whose ground-breaking ceremony was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Kenya Railways Corporation boss, Mr Atanas Maina, had told the National Assembly’s Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee that once the National Land Commission buys the railway land, the contractor, China Road and Bridge Corporation, will move to the site.

Early this month, Kwale County residents protested the compensation process being undertaken by the National Land Commission and railways officials, calling it unfair.

National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri urged residents to allow the commission time to look into the disputes and if still unsatisfied, lodge complaints within 60 days.