The Managing Director of the Railway Property Management Company Limited, a subsidiary of the Nigerian Railway Corporation saddled with the responsibility of managing all Lands and Landed Assets of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Timothy A. Zalanga, has disclosed plans by the Kaduna State government to resume train services within the metropolitan area of the state.
He said the Federal Ministry of Transportation along with the Nigerian Railway Corporation are in talks with the Kaduna State government to agree on a timeline for the resumption of the train service.
Speaking with journalists yesterday during an inspection tour of railway properties and illegal structures in Kaduna, the MD said the initiative by the state government was to serve as a palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.
He then noted that the objective of the exercise was to take statistics and census of people that operate along the railway line with particular interest on those that have a proper allocation and whether their allegations meet the requirements of those allowed to operate within the railway line corridor.
He said, “Some people have responded to our efforts and we discovered that we need to sustain the exercise to ensure that people know we are very serious, so as a follow-up to what we started, we decided to go round and see the level of compliance.
“The Kaduna State government is making efforts to start running train services within the metropolitan area by way of creating their palliative to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal and provide rail transportation for the larger masses of the state. This has also aligned with our plans to make sure that we get rid of structures and other businesses along the corridors so that when they are ready to start the service, there will be no hitches.”
On the issue of encouragement, he said, “The standard right of way is between 50 and 75 feet depending on the location but there is an operational setback in which we cannot allow anybody to construct anything because it provides risk for the train operation.”
He noted that the company ensures that any structure within the operational setback area is removed, adding, “Those in the right of way, if they do not obstruct the operational area, then we regularise their stay.”
On rail track vandalisation, he said the team discovered that people are taking advantage of the grounded train service to take away railway materials and assured that the company will sustain surveillance pending when the train service resumes.
He warned the public to desist from constructing and running businesses within the operational right of way of the railway if not for their safety but for the safety of the general public.