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Tata Answers Lenku, Says Government Approved Dyking Project

Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd says the construction of dykes to divert Kisamis seasonal river from flowing to Lake Magadi was sanctioned by the national government.

Gateway to Tata Chemicals Magadi. Photo KNU.

In a statement issued on Saturday by the multinational soda ash mining company’s chief executive officer, Harish Nair, it stated that national environmental agency and water resource management agency approved all the dyking works.

Nairi was responding to Lenku’s call for him to be arrested along with his technical advisor and former KQ CEO, Titus Naikuni, for allegedly engaging in an alleged illegal activity he claimed was not approved by county government and the community.

Lenku on Friday read malice in the project and claimed the company illegally diverted Kisamis seasonal river 100 kilometres upstream in Mosiro, which is outside its concession area.

But Nair explained that over the past few years, deforestation and construction projects upstream have led to a large amount of silt being dumped in the lake whenever it rains.

Kisamis seasonal river flows to Lake Magadi and the company, after intensive consultation with the community, the national and the county government in 2017, was allowed to divert the river to surrounding farms.

“About 30 per cent of the lake has been lost to the silt. Continued siltation would have led the loss of entire lake in a matter of few years, thereby threatening Lake Magadi and the economic activity dependent thereon,” said Nair.

The Tata Chemicals CEO said following the fears caused by increased siltation, the company initiated a project to protect and revive the lake in partnership with the government, local community, NEMA, WARMA and other international knowledge leaders in environment and science.

“This multi-agency project considered the various inputs and concluded that the best option would be to divert the flow of the river and undertake afforestation efforts upstream, in a manner that the water remains available for the community while at the same time the siltation threat to Magadi ceases,” he said.

Nair said a committee constituting members from the company, community and county government was created to oversee the diversion project.

Documents availed to us show due approvals for diversion were received from NEMA on June 30, 2017, and from WARMA earlier on May 29, 2017, and they posted detailed environment and social impact assessments.

Hirsi said the entire process took over three years from concept to fruition involving large investment to create diversion infrastructure and thus protect the national asset.

In addition, he said, several steps are being taken by the company to support the local community to further aid the development of the area where dykes were built.

The company boss said t would be in the interest of all concerned to protect the infrastructure created and continue the process of afforestation upstream.

“Tata Chemicals Magadi Ltd is committed to adhering to the highest standards of conduct and working with the community for sustainable growth,” Nair finally said.

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