The government has asked trespassers on Kenya Railway land in Busia County to vacate voluntarily or face forceful eviction.
Busia County Commissioner John Korir issued the warning on Monday in Teso North constituency during the commissioning of the Kenya Medical Training College Teso campus presided over by KMTC Board of Directors chairman Philip Kaloki.
He told individuals owning structures erected illegally on the Kenya Railway land that vacation notices were issued last year and addded those claiming not to have received cautionary decrees are mere sympathy seekers.
“Those claiming they have not been issued with the notices, we will move you. Anyone who has encroached on railway land must move or be moved,” he warned.
He said clearance of structures sitting on the railway land is meant to pave way for renovation and modernisation of the meter-gauge line.
The administrator said: “The fact that Kenya Railway has never taken action against encroachers in the past does not mean that the land now belongs to them.
“If you go and build a home on someone else’s land and they let you live there for a year or two, that does not give you ownership of the land. When the owner needs to use the land, you must move because it is not yours.
Very soon, we will be on the ground and the local leaders should help in enforcing this because this land has its owner. Those illegally occupying railway land should begin to move,” he warned.
Korir noted that once modernised the railway line that runs from the Port of Mombasa to Malaba will tremendously minimise the perpetual long distance trucks queues that the great northern corridor continues to witness.
“The cargo trucks’ queue is currently stretching tens of kilometers. If the railway line becomes operational, within a day the long queues you are seeing now will cease,”he said.
Recently Kenya Railway embarked on an exercise to reclaim its land with demolitions witnessed in Nakuru, Kisumu, Turbo and Bungoma to clear ground for upgrading of the meter-gauge line between Longonot to Malaba and Nakuru to Kisumu.
The government changed course to upgrade the old line after plans to extend the standard Gauge Railway flopped due to lack of funding.
The upgrade is set to increase the capacity of the line and boost efficiency of cargo transportation in the region and ease truck congestion on the northern corridor.
According to stakeholders, revamping the railway line will ease transportation of cargo from the dry port in Naivasha to Uganda via Malaba and from Naivasha to Kisumu where the cargo will then be moved to Uganda through Lake Victoria.
Malaba residents who spoke to KNA welcomed the idea of renovating and modernising the ancient railway line saying it will save them from the ills associated with the long truck queues and facilitate decongestion within the border town.
by Melechezedeck Ejakait