KARACHI: Authorities on Tuesday launched a drive against encroachments on railways land in Karachi, with heavy machinery deployed at the scene to raze illegal constructions.
The machinery was being used to clear encroachments from the rail track, which includes 20 stations and stretches over 43 kilometres.
In the first phase, the furniture market located on Gharibabad and Liaquatabad railway track would be razed.
According to Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, 580 acres of railways land has been encroached upon, and the operation would aim to remove these illegal constructions.
Ready to provide alternative settlements: Sheikh Rasheed
Speaking to private news channel, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed said they were ready to provide alternative settlements to dwellers on encroached Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) lands, however, the provincial government should bring a comprehensive plan for this.
He said the railway track would be fenced from Karachi to Peshawar under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The minister said the KCR had 207 acres of land, of which 21 acres were encroached and only two acres had been recovered.
Shop owners voluntarily clear encroachments
On Monday, railway and district administration officials visited the Gharibabad railway track ahead of the anti-encroachment drive. As the officials arrived, some store owners who had illegally set up a furniture market cleared the area themselves.
Speaking to the media after reviewing the illegal encroachments on the railway track land, Additional Deputy Commissioner Wasimuddin said, “We have just come to issue a warning to those who have set-up illegal stores and from tomorrow we will begin to raze the encroachments.”
There are encroachments on at least 10 points of the Karachi Circular Railway. Houses have also been built near the railway track on certain points while the land is also being used for parking purposes.
An operation was also done against encroachments on M-9 highway which connects Karachi and Hyderabad, removing billboards, signboards and other settlements.