Saturday, April 22, 2017

Scores of individuals left without compensation for SGR project in Tanzania

As the first phase of a 160 kilometer stretch of a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project has been inaugurated in Tanzania, the government has said that it would not compensate structures earlier pulled down to pave the way for the construction project. Prior to the inauguration of the project which took place two weeks ago at Pugu station on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city, three weeks ago hundreds of citizens had been left homeless in preparation for a long awaited project.  About 200 of their structures found to have been built within an area earmarked for the construction which is within 30 meters away from the main central railway line, had been pulled down. The exercise which was conducted by the state run Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO) has affected people in Buguruni, Vingunguti and Gongo la Mboto suburbs on the outskirts of the Dar es Salaam city who have been left in a distressed mood without a single payment for compensation. RAHCO’s Director General Masanja Kadogosa has said that, in order for his company to flag off the long awaited SRG project, it has to undergo preliminary preparations that involved together with the removal of people’s structures illegally built within the railway reserve areas to ensure its succession. 

However, he further clarified that the destruction was conducted as per the laws guiding the safety of railways line which is stipulated within the Railways Act of 2002. According to the law, it is strictly prohibited to conduct any human activity or build a house within the railway reserve area of 30 meters away from the main railway line, and that whatever such type of a structure is found should be destroyed without compensation.  The railway line would reduce cost of transportation in the country by reducing the number of heavy trucks on the highways thereby making an attractive investment destination. This is expected to reduce further the number of accidents, hence making roads safer for human traffic. As Tanzania’s fifth phase government has devoted to build an industrial state, the newly constructed railway line would speed up the industrialization process through cheaper transport that would ease the establishment of new industries thus, contributing to the GDP growth of at least 11 percent per annum from the currently 7 percent.

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