President to commission SGR Phase 2A
BY George Kebaso and Ann Nyathira
President Uhuru Kenyatta will today commission the 120.5 kilometres Phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Syokimau to Suswa two years since construction on the line kicked off.
This will pave way for the operationalisation of the rail between Nairobi and Suswa after a five-month delay. Madaraka Express passenger and freight services will commence immediately.
The President is also scheduled to commission construction of the second Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Naivasha located in a 1,000-acre land gazetted for the industrial park. Last month, the Cabinet approved a Sh6.9 billion budget for the development of the dry port in a bid to boost SGR operations.
“The President is also expected to visit the Kikamu project along the SGR line,” a source intimated. Naivasha sub-county commissioner Mbogo Mathioya confirmed today’s event.
“The SGR extension to Naivasha is now complete and on Wednesday, the Head of State will officially launch it by opening all the stations along the route,” Mathioya said during an update on the preparations for the Presidential event.
The Sh150 billion Second Phase commenced in 2017 and cuts across Nairobi, Kajiado, Nakuru, and Narok with 12 passenger stations. It has one interchange station at Nachu station. The main function is set for Mai Mahiu.
Passenger services on the line will, however, only be available in four of the 12 stations, that is Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Maai Mahiu and Suswa.
Meanwhile, the Maasai community has moved to court to oppose the planned dry port. Narok East Member of Parliament Ken Aramat said more than 10,000 families would be affected by the project, adding that the proposed 4,000 acres alternative land would not be enough.
The completion of the line was delayed by compensation affecting 1,810 people.
The most affected area was a 35km stretch between Embul Bul (Ngong) and the Nairobi National Park, where compensation delays slowed down the contractor- China Communications Construction Company.
Plans for Phase 2B hit a snag in April after the government failed to secure Sh368 billion for the project.