Governor Joseph Lenku on Tuesday launched a new train passenger coach service to serve the Kajiado to Konza route in easing transport services, writes Lilian Lelei.
The passenger train belongs to Tata Chemicals in Magadi and passengers traveling from Konza will disembark at its railway station in Kajiado town.
The carrier service that will run twice a week will have a carrying capacity of 150 passengers on board and is set to ease travel while reducing traffic along the road networks on the targeted routes.
Speaking during the launch, Lenku said the train service will ease transport, improve efficiency while opening up business opportunities for the communities along the railway line and its destinations.
He lauded the partnership between his government and Tata Chemicals Magadi for such a milestone in the transport sector in Kajiado adding that such development oriented initiatives are historical and worth emulating by other corporate organizations in the county.
“I would like to urge the people of Kajiado East to support Tata Chemicals Magadi if they find an opportunity to do so because they have made life much better for them,” said Lenku.
He said already far flung areas like Emali had registered interest in having the passenger train service extended to reach them so that they can also benefit from the potential business gains it stood to offer.
At the same time Lenku assured the residents of Kajiado that plans are underway to repair roads and bridges that have been rendered impassable due to the recent heavy rains.
He intimated that the Ewuaso-Ngong-Kiserian-Isinya-Imaroro road work is set to be launched in the coming week and urged investors in the county to take advantage of this enhanced road network to do business while empowering the people.
On his part the deputy governor Martin Moshisho challenged corporate investors to partner with the county government in development of projects adding that it is such initiatives that are key in uplifting the livelihoods of the people.
“Every company in Kajiado has a special role to join hands with the County Government in service delivery to the people of this County,” he said.
Moshisho said Tata Chemical has paved the way for other corporate bodies within the county to build meaningful connections with the community and urged them to follow suit.
Speaking at the ceremony, Tata Chemicals Magadi managing director, Eng. Jackson Mbui stated that as a company, the provision of the rail passenger coach service between Kajiado and Konza will hopefully empower the local community as well as provide savings in both time and money for commuters.
“Our hope is that this coach service will also foster development in the Kajiado area, opening up trade and commerce avenues for the county as a whole,” he concluded.
Also present at the function were county executive committee members, national government representatives, MCAs led by Magadi rep. Joseph Masiaya among others.
The Governor and the leadership later rode the maiden train ride from Kajiado to Konza Market where they addressed elated residents highlighting to them the key development gains of the public-private partnership that has borne the commuter service train.
Tata Chemicals Magadi Managing Director, Eng. Jackson Mbui said the passenger coach will serve surrounding communities twice a week. Speaking at the ceremony Mbui said Tata Chemicals Magadi’s role in this community goes beyond the mantle of local employer.
“Over the decades, this company has been part of this community. We have always tried to build deep and meaningful connections with our people. The need for a more efficient transportation system in Kajiado is apparent as we continue with our collective journey down the path of local community empowerment,” said Mbui.
As a company, he said, the provision of a rail passenger coach service between Kajiado and Konza will have a positive impact on the community from both social and economic perspective.
“We would like to thank governor Lenku for his vast contributions to making this project a reality for Kajiado residents,” he said.
Mbui said the passenger coach service will empower the local community as well as provide savings in both time and money for commuters. Tata Chemicals Magadi Limited (TCML) occupies a significant place in the Kenyan economy, according to Mbui.
It is Africa’s largest soda ash manufacturer and one of Kenya’s leading exporters.
The MD said the company is an important part of the socio-economic fabric of the Lake Magadi region in Kenya where its soda ash facility is based.Formerly known as Magadi Soda Company, TCML has been a part of Tata Chemicals since 2005.
Mbui added that Tata Chemicals (TCL), a part of the global Tata group, is one of the world’s leading chemical companies, with a widespread portfolio of household products, industrial chemicals and agricultural inputs.
TCL’s operations are located in the US, the UK, Kenya and India.
Established in 1911, The Company has been producing soda ash at Lake Magadi for over one hundred years.
The site is situated 120kms south west of Nairobi. Here the company recovers trona (a naturally occurring mineral that contains sodium carbonate compounds) from one of the purest surface deposits in the base of the Rift Valley at Lake Magadi.
TCML converts trona into soda ash, which is transported by rail to its trans- shipment facility in Kajiado.
The facility also serves as a dispatch point for our products to the local market. From here, Soda Ash is transported to the port of Mombasa for onward shipping to our international markets.
Soda ash is an essential constituent in the manufacture of glass and the production of detergents and industrial chemicals.
Over 95 per cent of the company product is exported to its principal markets of South East Asia, Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Middle East.
Lake Magadi, is said to be home to the purest salt in the world. Our heritage spans more than 100 years of producing the best natural salt.
Their salt contains elements of sodium, chloride and sodium bicarbonate.
“Our product portfolio includes, Magadi Livestock salt for livestock feed, Magadi Moore Nyama- for meat, Magadi Moore Maziwa – for milk, Magadi Industrial salt – for industrial use,” the boss said. He said the company is an equal opportunity employer and has over 600 people on its payroll.
Over the decades, TCML has built deep connections with the local community through a number of health, education and employment initiatives.