By Pascal Kwesiga and Juliet Waiswa
The Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have said encroachers along the Namanve-Kyengera and Port bell-Kampala railway lines must vacate by next week.
The encroachers on public land were given a 28 days ultimatum on July 4 to leave to facilitate the revamp of the passenger railway services in Kampala.
Presidents of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda signed an agreement last May to build a standard gauge railway line through the three states and revamp the existing railway network within their countries to ease transport.
The passenger city commuter trains will load passengers at Namanve, east of Kampala, through Bweyogerere, Banda, Kinawataka, Kataza, Industrial view and Namuwongo suburbs to Kampala.
There will also be passenger city commuter trains starting from Kyengera, in the southwest of Kampala, through Nalukolongo, Ndeeba and Katwe suburbs to Kampala.
Illegal encroachers have been settling along the railway line since the passenger railway services collapsed decades ago.
However, URC and KCCA officials told a press conference in Kampala on Saturday that some of the encroachers have started vacating.
Paul Kabaale, the general manager for safety, health, regulatory compliance, environment and quality assurance in the Rift Valley Railway Company, which will be operating the city passenger services, said, they need free corridors of 30 meters away from both sides of the railway line before commencing passenger services.
“We are not in the business of killing people,” he said. “We want to offer safe transport and the free corridors are needed to allow us deliver emergence response services as soon as possible if need arises,”
RVR has been using the railway line for transporting cargo between Kenya and Uganda.
The URC acting director, Charles Kateeba, said only encroachers who lived along the railway corridors by January 2011 would be compensated as soon as government provides the money.
Railway line encroachers must vacate, says Govt