GOVERNMENT DIRECTS ZAMBIA RAILWAYS TO HALT CONSTRUCTION OF ILLEGAL STRUCTURES ON RAILWAY RESERVE LAND
Government has directed Zambia Railways Limited to immediately halt the construction of illegal structures being built on railway reserve land.
Speaking when he conducted an inspection tour of the railway line in Lusaka’s Ngwerere area, Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says Government is committed to ensuring that railway reserve land is protected for future development.
Mr Kafwaya says it is illegal for anyone to sell land that belongs to Zambia Railways Limited and that those doing so should be taken to task.
“Zambia Railways is facing a huge challenge of encroachment as people have built structures on the railway reserve land, while others are in the process of building. This is why I am directing Zambia Railways Limited to immediately halt the illegal construction on its land”. Said Mr Kafwaya
Mr Kafwaya stated that there is need for Zambia Railways and other stakeholders to cautiously handle the issue by attaching both human as well as the legal face.
“As Government and Zambia Railways, we need to start engaging all those that have illegally built on the land. What we are doing is to protect the land for future railway expansion projects” said the Transport Minister.
In his interaction with some of the illegal developers, the Transport Minister discovered that a named Headman sold land to some of the people that have built in the railway reserve strip.
Meanwhile, ZRL Chief Executive Officer Christopher Musonda who accompanied the Transport Minister says the company will move in to halt the illegal development of structures on the reserve land.
“Encroachment on railway reserve land is rampant and a big challenge especially in Lusaka. This poses a huge safety risk to illegal developers as the company transports hazardous commodities such as acids and fuels and in an event of a derailment lives can be lost” said Mr Musonda.
Mr Musonda revealed that the company has recorded an increase in the number of people been hit by trains due to trespassing and trading on or close to the railway line.
The ZRL CEO reiterated the company’s commitment in preserving the railway infrastructure for future railway expansion programmes.
Under the Rail Act, it is illegal and punishable for anyone to build within 50 meters of either side of the rail line.