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Coastweek-- Rural Electrification Authority (REA) chairman, Dr. Simon Gicharu [right] assists workers at Digirikani village in Kisauni to erect one of the power posts leading to Digirikani Primary school where they are currently trying to connect power to the school for the rural electrification program. REA will by the end of this month finalize the government directive to make sure all rural primary schools are connected to electricity for the primary schools’ laptop program. REA chairman was on a tour of rural primary schools in Kisauni to access the on going rural electrification program.
Nationwide Primary School Electrification Commences

Coastweek-- The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has moved to save the government of Sh1.8 billion that had earlier been earmarked for installation of electronic signages in all schools covered by its electrification program.

Speaking in Mombasa while inspecting ongoing work to connect electricity at the Dingirikani Primary School, Kisauni constituency, one of the beneficiaries of the nationwide primary school electrification program, REA chairman, Dr. Simon Gicharu said that REA  board and management has taken the decision to shelve the program.

“It would be wastage of resources. We instead would wish to see the funds allocated to light up more classes, buy text books, improve general infrastructure of existing rural communities where REA has undertaken electrification projects,” Dr Gicharu who was accompanied by REA Coast Regional co-coordinator, Mr Frederick Nyamai said.

According to Dr Gicharu, the cost of  production and installation of the electronic signage that were to be mounted in all the 21,000 primary schools which were connected to the national electricity grid by REA  is Sh87,660  per signage.

Cost of producing one signage is given as Sh33,000 while mounting of the same  including for grid areas is given as Sh54,660.

Dr Gicharu said that they are working to meet the set deadline of April 30, 2015 so as to have all schools in the project lit up.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta is very passionate on having this project materialize and we as REA have taken it up upon ourselves to ensure that we deliver as per the Presidential directive,” he said.

At the same time, the chairman lauded women contractors who have landed jobs with REA in the nationwide primary school electrification for doing a commendable job.

“They have proved to be diligent in their work and we hope to have a long lasting relation with them alongside the other male contractors who have done a good job too,” Dr Gicharu said.

He said that at least 10 contractors have been blacklisted by the authority for shoddy work and unethical instances and will not be allowed to do jobs belonging to REA.

“We are a professional body and observe one of the highest standards of operations when it comes to contracts. Our strict rules of engagement have to be followed to the latter by all and sundry” the chairman said.

Dr Gicharu, a career educationist himself, is called for the enactment of safety drills and survival skills in all learning institutions to prepare students to face any eventualities while at their institutions.

“We regret the loss of life at the University of Nairobi, Kikuyu campus where an electric transformer exploded and the explosion was mistaken for an attack by assailants triggering panic and causing a stampede,” he said.

He added if there was adequate drill on safety and life skills, there could be very minimal injuries sustained at the institution.



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