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Nyandarua’s upcoming headquarters suffers blow in KRC demolitions

Nyandarua County’s upcoming headquarters in Ol Kalou town has suffered a big blow after the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) moved in to reclaim its lands to pave way for the reconstruction of the rail line.

Storied buildings, churches, boutiques, groceries and roadside market sheds were not spared during the mid-morning demolitions that have left the county headquarter a shell of a town, leaving the residents dismayed.

 While regretting the demolitions that were hurried, County Woman Representative Faith Gitau called on the government to compensate those affected as they had leased out the lands from the KRC adding their leases had not yet expired.

Gitau called on the county government to prioritize construction of Jua Kali sheds and markets to relocate the affected businesses, regretting that the destruction had retarded development of the marginalized county.

OlKalou MP David Kiaraho noted that the leases were genuine and proper notice should have been given before the demolitions.

“We took oath of office to protect the properties of our people. We have spent all night trying to relocate them elsewhere in vain as so much will be affected. We will mobilize all traders to occupy the recently constructed market and the stadium to find space for trade,” noted Ol Kalou MCA Ken Mukira.

The residents decried the demolitions regretting that adequate notice was not given for them to vacate their premises.

Peter Githinji, a trader in the town noted that the plan that allowed the huge pieces of land as reserves for the railway were colonial, calling on the government to redesign the town.

“A hundred feet or 30 metres are enough for reserves as trains are not like lorries that will derail to the 400-metre allowance that they are demanding along OlKalou- Ndunduri road,” complained John Nganga.

County Commissioner Benson Leparmorijo, while reacting to the sentiments, noted that notices were issued as early as 2019, with many unscrupulous traders taking advantage to cash in on the reserves.

“We have begun removing all the encroachments from the Gilgil-Nyahururu railway line ahead of its revitalization by the government. Those who were affected were alerted in good time in 2019 and markings were repeated yesterday (Monday),” said the Commissioner.

Leparmorijo, while noting that the exercise had been halted temporarily, said that enough time will be given to the affected persons to vacate the premises.

by Anne Sabuni

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