Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (left) with Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina (right) during a recent media tour of SGR. [Photo: Gideon Maundu, Standard]
Plans are underway to develop an engineering school at the Railways Training Institute (RTI) to train professionals who will eventually take over from the China Road and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) in running the Standard Gauge Railway.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has told Weekend Business that the Government has already set aside Sh1 billion for the development of infrastructure for the school which will be constructed with the help of the Chinese Embassy.
“China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and CRBC have offered as a way of giving back to the community by developing an engineering school for railway training at RTI,” he said.
“The Chinese Embassy is working on a grant for the development of a teaching building for RTI to hold lecture rooms and other facilities,” he said. A hundred students will get scholarships to study for degree programmes in China ahead of the launch of SGR in June.
“Of these, 60 are already in China studying railway engineering and design, communication and signalling technology, transport, traffic management and operations amongst other disciplines,” said Macharia.
Meanwhile, the contractor who will construct phase 2A for SGR has already been mobilised in preparation for the works ahead of a payout for the people who will be relocated for the project. Mr Macharia has, however, raised concern about the high cost of acquisition for land along the corridor which will link the Nairobi South railway station to Naivasha Industrial Park in Enosupukia.
The Government is set to spend Sh15 billion to compensate people living where the line will be laid, something the Transport CS says is unsustainable. He says it is costing taxpayers a considerable amount of money as compensation for infrastructure projects.
“There is a worrying trend of the expenses associated with land compensation for development of public infrastructure,” he said.
“This is a discussion that Kenyans need to have since it is costing the Government too much money in this undertaking even before the contract can be implemented, thereby making infrastructure development very expensive and unsustainable in the long term,” he said.
Phase 2A of the SGR line runs across parts of Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Nakuru and Narok counties and covers a distance of 120km. It will follow the escarpment to Mai Mahiu and pass south of Mount Longonot to Naivasha.