Construction of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway faces major hurdle

Construction of Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway faces major hurdle

The construction of a section of the Standard Gauge Railway that passes through Nairobi National Park has been stopped following a decision of the National Environment Tribunal.

The orders to halt the construction comes after the activists led by Okiyah Omtatah and Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation successfully filled an application against National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), Kenya Wildlife Service, China Road and Bridge Corporation, Kenya Railways Corporation, the Attorney General and the ministries of Environment and Transport.

According to the letter dated September 19, the tribunal chairman JK Awuor ordered the stopping of the construction of the Standard gauge railway on grounds that Nema had failed to conduct a feasibility study for the project, which is to be undertaken by China Roads and Bridge Corporation company.

The respondents have 21 days to respond to Omtatah’s appeal.”Take notice that the National Environment Tribunal has received an appeal from Okiyah Omtatah and Kenya Coalition for Wildlife Conservation and Management against Nema’s failure to stop the project, which is currently underway without the benefit of Environmental Impact Assessment licence as mandated and required by law,” said Awuor in the letter. Omtatah argues that without an assessment there is no room to explore an alternative route.

According to the railway construction officials the Phase 2A of the SGR project, Nairobi-Naivasha section, was to be constructed through the Nairobi National Park.

This is expected to delay the construction of the railway line and perhaps see the railway project delay on the delivery date.

Though in the past few months the project has been facing a lot of challenges including the attacking of the China Road and Bridge Corporation, Kenya Railways Corporation under the ground that they didn’t give the locals jobs to carry out.

The multi-million projects is expected to be completed by 2017 and is being funded by the government of Kenya.

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