KARACHI: The city administration with the assistance of the Pakistan Railways and other institutions will launch a major operation from Wednesday (today) to retrieve the land of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) from encroachers, it emerged on Tuesday.
Official sources said that a decision to this effect was taken in a meeting chaired by Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani and attended among others by divisional superintendent of the PR and managing director of the Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA).
The Supreme Court had last week given two weeks to the PR authorities to retrieve the land along the tracks of the KCR and hand it over to the Sindh authorities, who were also asked to make arrangements for making the KCR functional within a month afterwards.
According to officials, more than 29 acres of KCR land is occupied near Wazir Mansion; another two acres from Wazir Mansion to Orangi Nullah; 1.5 acres from there to Nazimabad; another 2.5 acres from there to Liaquatabad; and 3.25 acres from there to Gilani Railway Station.
Senior administration, police and Railways officials will lead the anti-encroachment operation
Two acres of the KCR land is illegally occupied from Gilani Railway Station up to Urdu University; another 4.25 acres till the University of Karachi; and one acre to Depot Hill near the Drigh Road station.
Talking to Dawn, Commissioner Shallwani said that the revival of the KCR had become extremely important in view of its inclusion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“The revival of the KCR is an important issue and it must be resolved through joint efforts of all stakeholders,” he added.
The commissioner said that the operation against encroachments within 50 feet of the two sides of the KCR track would be launched on Wednesday.
“A constant vigil on the two sides of the track will be maintained once the encroachments are removed”, he said.
Meanwhile, sources said that the meeting decided to immediately launch the operation to clear the right of way (RoW) for dual track on a priority basis.
They said that the deputy commissioners concerned along with SSPs concerned, senior officials of PR’s land department would be the focal executing team on the ground and lead the grand anti-encroachment operation.
The sources said that necessary security arrangements would be made by the city police during the operation to cope with any untoward situation.
During the meeting, they said, the commissioner proposed that the PR might revive the operation of the KCR on the existing railway system, given the limited capacity and resources of the provincial government at this stage.
However, the sources said that the Railways DS contested the proposal and told the meeting that any decision to this effect had to be taken by PR and the Railways ministry.
They said that the deputy commissioner of West district informed the meeting that 4.5 kilometres, out of 7.5km, had been cleared from all illegal encroachments.
DIG Operation (Railways) Azhar Rasheed Khan, KDA chief Abdul Qadeer Mangi, SMTA chief Iqtidar Ahmed, Shaikh Talib Fatah, anti-encroachment director Faisal Bashir Memon, DC South Syed Salahuddin, DC East Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, DC West Zahid Memon, additional DC Central Kamal Hakeem and other officials attended the meeting.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2019