Kenya: Gdc in Row With Subukia Residents Over Well Plan

2 December 2019

Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has been locked in a stand-off with residents of Kabazi in Subukia sub-county over its plans to drill wells on their farms.

The State-owned firm is planning to drill five geothermal wells, a move the residents have protested on grounds that they were not consulted before the company submitted the proposal to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

According to GDC Director Kamau Kuria, the company will only halt the plans if the environmental watchdog dismisses its proposal.

Mr Kuria argued that the project cannot be cancelled by GDC since it is a government programme.

"Unless the project is cancelled by either Nema or the Parliamentary committee on Lands and Natural Resources, GDC has no powers to abort it," he said.

However, more than 400 residents led by their MCA Peter Mbae argue that GDC never consulted locals before handing over its proposals to Nema.

Mr Mbae expressed fear that the move will render a section of the locals homeless as the project could see majority displaced.

"The problem here is that GDC never consulted anybody and is not ready to listen to the plight of the residents," said Mr Mbae.

The residents have also accused GDC of submitting Environmental Impact Assessment report (EIA) to Nema which was published late October this year, while only giving residents a month to submit their views.

The locals who spoke to Nation said they are now living in fear of being displaced as well as suffering disruption to their normal farming activities.

They are now calling on Nema not to issue a greenlight that will lead to implementation of the project.

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