Deal struck to hive off 216 acres from Nairobi national park
The National Land Commission (NLC) says it has struck a deal with Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to have the Standard Gauge Railway pass through Nairobi national park.
The deal settles the standoff between Kenyan Railways and KWS on the path of the new railway.
Under the deal, Kenya Railways will carve out 216 acres from Nairobi national park. But while only half of the 216 acres will be used for the actual rail, the other half will be cut off from the park making it unusable for the animals.
The alternative would have been for the corporation to pay huge compensations to buy out industries and residential estates in Mlolongo and Athi River.
The land commission and KWS are set to sign the agreement Friday afternoon at the latter’s headquarters in Langata.
The idea to take over 0.75 per cent of the park, which has been termed critical, was mooted by the land commission after it was established that there is no money to compensate high-value properties affected by the current route.
Kenya Railways, according to the terms of the deals, has committed to look for an alternative piece of land to compensate for the loss of the wildlife habitat.
In a supplementary environmental impact report for the proposed 11.6 kilometre stretch, the corporation says the change in the rail route will also help the line avoid too many curves which will affect train speeds.
Kenya Railways had said that if the route is not changed, multiple industries and residential properties would have been affected.
These include Bamburi Cement, Devki Steel Mills, Athi River Steel Plant, Kapa Oil Refineries, Orbit Chemicals, Muthama Heights Estate, Kenya Meat Commission, ISL Kenya and Murumbi African Heritage House, among others.
A similar proposal by the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha), which wants to excise 89 acres from the national park for the Southern bypass, has received strong opposition from environmentalists who are concerned on the disruption wildlife habitat.