Construction of the Sh63 billion multi-purpose dams in Elgeyo-Marakwet County is set to kick off after the National Land Commission (NLC) started compensating over 800 families to be displaced by the project.
NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri is on a two-week tour of the Arror and Kimwarer dam sites to sensitise locals on land compensation and resettlement.
“The NLC team is holding forums with the public and stakeholders to formalise surrender of land for the construction of hydro-electricity and irrigation project,” said David Kimosop, Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) managing director.
The government early this month gazetted planned land acquisition for the implementation of the project.
The Swazuri-led team are to distribute and sensitise the families on the Kenya Gazette notice on acquisition of land and resettlement of the displaced families.
“There should be formal acceptance by the families to surrender land for implementation of the proposed hydro-electricity and irrigation projects,” said Dr Swazuri, when he received a progress report from KVDA on the resettlement.
The project to be built on rivers Arror and Kimwarer in Marakwet West and Keiyo South sub-counties, respectively is expected to irrigate over 20,000 acres of land.
Arror dam will cost Sh38.5 billion and Kimwarer in Keiyo South Sh28 billion.
“About 6,000 acres of land, including public forests, will be acquired by the authority to set up the twin, multi-purpose dams,” explained Mr Kimosop.
He said the families will receive Sh6.3 billion as compensation for development and resettlement. “The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) for the two projects in exchange for 570 hectares recovered from private land by communities that will be displaced and compensated,” said Mr Kimosop.
He said the government will strictly adhere to laid-down procedures in getting land for the dams.
“More than 30 consultants who include engineers, designers and planners are already on the ground and the construction process is to last shorter than anticipated,” said Mr Kimosop. He said engineers were carrying out mapping and evaluation of the projects which will facilitate piping for the hydroelectricity and irrigation project.
Mr Kimosop said the two projects are key to unlocking the huge potential of the Kerio Valley region which has experienced insecurity for decades.
He said that they will ensure that the exercise is conducted in an accountable and transparent manner devoid of corruption and other malpractices.
“We shall compensate the families using the international standards and any person who surrendered his or her parcel of land to pave way for the construction of the multi-billion shilling dams will benefit from the resettlement programme,” assured Mr Kimosop.
KVDA through a joint venture between CMC di Ravena and Itenera of Italy with a loan funding from the Italian government plans to implement the multi-purpose project to generate 60 megawatts of electricity to the national grid and enhance irrigated agriculture.