RAWALPINDI, Sept 22: A joint team of Pakistan Railways and the armed forces will soon begin the demarcation of 47.69 acres land in Rawalpindi division which is claimed by the railways but is in the custody of the military.
This was announced in a meeting of Pakistan Railways officials chaired by Divisional Superintendent Syed Munawar Shah, held to review the arrangements to resume the anti-encroachment drive in the railway division from Rawalpindi to Sargodha.
The meeting revealed that the railway land near Airport Road along the main railway track from Chaklala to Rawalpindi railway station, measuring 36.91 acres, was under the occupation of the joint services headquarter.
“The Pakistan Air Force has encroached on the railway land by establishing an air logistic centre and fencing off 16.23 acres land along the Airport Road. Adjacent to this, the Military Engineering Services (MES) has occupied 20.68 acres by constructing a boundary wall,” the land branch officials told the meeting.
The military authorities, after checking the records, informed Pakistan Railways last month that a joint team, in the presence of revenue authorities, would soon begin the demarcation of the land.
Furthermore, the officials informed the meeting that the army’s housing directorate had established a housing scheme on eight acres of railway land adjacent to the Murree Brewery. “The issue had been taken up with military authorities and it was decided that they would swap this land with Mughalpura Dry Port, Lahore, which is currently being utilised by Pakistan Railways.”
The railway headquarters agreed to this and its Rawalpindi division was asked to send a swapping plan within a week, they said.
The officials reported that the railway authorities had not removed the katchi abadis built on 18.090 acres of land, including Abdul Rehman Colony Quaidabad (22 units on 6.1 kanals), Ziaul Haq Colony (437 units on 88 kanals), Wagon Colony (109 units on 38 kanals) and Kalyamabad.
“Pakistan Railways headquarter directed its Pindi division to send a working paper aimed at regularising the katchi abadis. Since the matter was pending between the ministry of railways and the Punjab government the railway teams had left the matter pending for the time being,” they said.
The officials told Dawn that the divisional superintendent had directed the railway’s land branch to prepare all the details which would later be presented in the Supreme Court in compliance with its orders to retrieve the land from the encroachers.
When contacted, Divisional Superintendent Syed Munawar Shah said the meeting was held to start the anti-encroachment drive.
He said the drive had been suspended two months back due to Ramazan and the monsoons.
Pakistan Railway authorities had given the residents of the katchi abadis two months to make arrangements for their houses.
He said the drive had been launched on the directives of the Supreme Court and the authorities had managed to retrieve 11.090 acres of commercial land out of a total of 12.352 acres while 19.762 acres of residential land had been recovered with the remaining 3.831 acres to be recovered soon.
He said railway’s agriculture land of 9.843 acres had been retrieved during the last three months.