{PHOTOS} Taj Mall demolition underway

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Airgate Centre, popularly known as Taj Mall in Embakasi is currently being demolished.

The green excavator arrived at the multi-million shillings mall along the Outering road at 6.30 am on Saturday.

A good number of police officers have been deployed around the mall to ensure the exercise goes on smoothly.

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Demolition at Taj Mall. /LILLIAN MUTAVI

The officers are trying to block youths attempting to make their way in to loot chairs and scrap metals.

“There is a huge traffic snarl up along the Outering Ring and North Airport roads,” Lillian Mutavi, The Star reporter at the scene said.

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The green excavator at Taj Mall. /COURTESY 

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The government is seeking to reclaim the land for road expansion.

On August 17, the multi-sectoral committee on unsafe structures asked tenants to vacate the building by August 30.

The chairman of the committee Moses Nyakiongora said the building will be pulled down because it is on public land.

Read: Demolition spree: Taj Mall tenants have until August 30 to leave

Also read; Gorasia dares state to demolish Taj Mall

According to government papers, the title for the land where the building stands were revoked in September 2015 by the National Land Commission after it established that the government had acquired it in 1960.

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Once a survey was done in 1966, the then department of physical planning replanned a 60m wide Outering Road vide PDP No13 of 1988 thus increasing the road corridor on Fedha Estate by about seven metres on either side.

And so when Kenya Urban Roads Authority decided to make the busy Outering Road a dual carriageway in 2013, it asked NLC to establish to rule if the building was on a road reserve or not.

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In September, the owner of the Mall Ramesh Gorasia said he will not vacate as ordered by the team in charge of demolitions of illegal buildings.

“I’ll not leave or remove anything from the building. Why should I do that? If they want to demolish, let them come and do whatever they want to do,” Gorasia said.

The mall was officially opened on August 1, 2011 by then Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. It’s reportedly valued at Sh5.5 billion.

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