Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said that encroachments built during and after 2013 on the route of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) would be bulldozed whereas those that were constructed before 2013 would be compensated.

Shah announced the decision while presiding over a meeting on the KCR project, which will be launched in September, to discuss its progress and issues impeding it, a statement from the CM House said.

Read more: KCR’s eternal wait

Transport officials as well as commissioners from various government departments informed the chief minister that currently 21 kilometres out of the 43.1km-long KCR route are sprawling with illegal constructions.

In his reply, a disgruntled Shah checked the district administration, police and railway officials, saying they were "slumbering" when unauthorised constructions began appearing on government-owned land.

Know more: Encroachments major obstacle to KCR revival

The chief minister, taking the 2013 JAICA survey in consideration, said that he is against excusing anyone for "encroaching upon government land", adding that the Sindh government is going to ask those who were settled in these areas before 2013 to vacate their settlements and give them compensation "on humanitarian grounds".

Pakistan Railways survey scope of illegal settlements

Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Ali Khan, quoting a survey conducted by Pakistan Railways, said that 4,950 illegal constructions in the shape of houses and shops have appeared on the route of KCR.

In Karachi East district, there are 2,517 constructions that include 448 mud-walled houses, 1,700 brick houses and 369 makeshift shops.

In the city's Central dIstrict, there are a total of 720 constructions, including 262 mud-walled houses, and 47 makeshift shops. The rest are built with concrete.

Similarly, in district West, 1,002 illegal settlements were identified, more than 95 per cent of which were

In district South, there are 420 houses, including four mud-walled houses.

The commissioner pointed out that the railways authority have not surveyed some areas in the city's South District where there are around 300 illegal settlements.

Shah was also informed the encroachments in all four districts spread over at least 325 square yards of area.

Anti-encroachment operation and KCR's future

Sindh Minister for Transport Nasir Shah told the CM that he has worked on an anti-encroachment drive, adding that some 48 excavators with different functions, 24 dumpers, eight loaders, eight gas cutters, 24 hand drills as well as at least 400 labourers would be required to conduct the operation.

Shah then assigned the transport minister to lead the anti-encroachment operation with the help of other civic utilities and law enforcement authorities. He also directed him to start issuing notices to people living in these illegal settlements and then bulldoze their houses.

Also read: Barbed wire fence along KCR route ordered

He further directed officials to fix fences and protect the KCR route once the encroachments are cleared.

The CM said that he would perform the ground-breaking ceremony sometime in September or October, in which higher officials from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would also be invited.

"This would be the beginning of a modern Karachi," Shah added.

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