Upgrading of Siu-Shanga road to open up Pate Island for industry

Roads Authority (KeRRA) through the Equalization Fund is gravelling the 30 Kilometre Mtangawanda-Faza -Kizingitini road which is currently per cent complete.

Speaking to KNA Saturday in Siu, Lamu East Constituency, Roads Officer with KeRRA Leonard Ouma said the road project will help open up the area, which is further expected to benefit from gas reserves in Pate area, once the actual drilling of the commodity begins in December.

Ouma said that the delay in completing the remaining portion of the road was due to refusal by some land owners who are laying claim to road reserves that are meant to give way for the project.

Some individuals have encroached on the road reserves that are in the road design and are adamant that the trees within the vicinity will not be cut despite having received compensation, Ouma said.

The Roads Officer also noted that the already completed section between Mtangawanda Jetty to Zarara Oil and Gas Site was damaged by heavy trucks by the same company ferrying drilling equipment of up to100 tonnes passing through the road to their location.

However, Zarara oil and Gas company have indicated that they will carry out maintenance on the road section that was damaged as they were ferrying equipment, Ouma said.

Lamu East MP, Athman Shariff, also speaking on the project, which has been subjected to heated debate over compensation rate in recent weeks, with the rate of each tree to be cut, to make way for the road works being pegged at Sh.3,000, said people who are against the construction, due to what they termed a low compensation figures were misinformed over the overall benefits the area stands to gain after its completion.

Shariff said the road will help open up the Island that has been marginalized since independence and that the saving grace was the Zarara Oil and Gas project which is expected to bring socio-economic boon to the area.

The project is well thought out and I would advise some politicians to desist from being activists and mobilizing people who are not even from the area to cause unnecessary delay, he said.

He added that contrary to reports that 200 people have been displaced from their land to pave way for the project,only less than 30 people have been affected and that they have been paid their fair dues.

The County Women Representative Ruweida Obo has been in the forefront of opposing the road works, stating that the road design was changed, encroaching on people lands without prior consultations.

However,the Lamu East legislator was adamant that the number of those affected has been blown out of proportion.

He further reiterated that the road project once completed will enable the National Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) allocate monies for feeder roads within Pate Island further opening up the area.

This would invariably improve the economy of the area by enabling easy access to facilities, offer cheap transportation costs and guarantee improved security in the region, Sharrif added.

Source: Kenya News Agency