• Senator Maina said the county government should provide a better place for the traders saying the area it plans to relocate them to is marshy and not convenient for their hygiene and doing business.
• But Governor Kahiga said already the upgrading and Murraming of the plot will start immediately while the allocation of the area to traders is expected to take place this week.
Two Nyeri leaders have differed over the relocation of more than 2,000 traders to the old market in Karatina town.
The traders, mostly second-hand clothes dealers, are facing eviction from the railway line.
While Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the traders should be moved to the old market in Karatina town, Senator Ephraim Maina said the area is marshy and not fit for doing business.
Maina said the county government should provide a better place for them.
“Anybody saying that they [traders] shift from here must ensure the ground they are moving to is conducive. That marshy ground where they are being told to move to is not convenient for their hygiene,” the senator said.
He said water stagnates in the area during the rainy season and traders cannot be expected to put their merchandise on the swampy and muddy area.
Maina said those who had been relocated to the area during construction of the modern open-air market in Karatina town suffered for close to 10 years that they stayed there.
The lawmaker further said the area is too small to accommodate all the 2,000 traders.
“We must, therefore, as leaders sit down and come up with a solution which will favour both the interests of the Kenya Railway and the traders,” he said.
“We want the railway line to be operationalised and the train to start moving but the people should also be listened to.”
Maina also proposed that the traders be left to continue operating in the area with little disturbance as the rail line is being built, saying what they need is to move away from the line.
Kenya Railways is set to resume services along the route by June this year.
Trader Jackline Njoki on Saturday said the space being provided by the government was too small for the 2,000 traders.
Njoki and Karatina second-hand clothes dealers chairman Moses Kariithi also said they were trading in the same spot even when the rail was operational, adding that the same is possible even today.
But Governor Kahiga said the upgrade and murraming of the plot will start immediately, while the allocation of traders is expected to take place this week.
Traders have been conducting their businesses on the Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line.
They had been given up to January 13 [today] by the Kenya Railways to vacate but the deadline has been extended to Friday.
Kenya Railways had issued a notice to all encroachers on railway reserves along the line to vacate.
In Nyeri, those affected are small traders who sell along the railway line in Karatina town and Chaka.
Karatina MCA Watson Weru on Sunday urged traders to move to the allocated area, adding that the executive and the assembly have plans to build a better trading area for them.