Pakistan Railways on Friday admitted that over 4,229 acres of its land worth Rs 92.78 billion is still under encroachment.
The Punjab province tops the list where 2,170 acres of land is under encroachment followed by Sindh with 1,189 acres, Balochistan with 1,189 acres and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 250.9 acres.
This was revealed by the Railways officials while briefing the National Assembly Standing committee on Railways which met with Syed Naveed Qamar in the chair.
Secretary Parveen Agha, Additional General Manager Humayun Rasheed, Director Land and Property Arshad Salam Khattak and Director General Technical Syed Munawar Shah briefed the committee members.
Railways officials admitted that major portion of the encroached land has been in the two provinces. However Balochistan leads the list with respect to value as Rs 50.9 billion of land is encroached in the province, followed by Punjab with Rs 22.58 billion of land, Sindh 11.5 billion and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs 7.7 billion.
Railway land has three types of encroachment comprising commercial, residential and agriculture besides lands under unauthorized occupation of government departments, which accounts 540.668 acres. Private individuals encroached 4,338 acres and defense departments have control of 251.23 acres of Pakistan Railway land.
Of the 129 acres commercial land, 73 acres in Balochistan, 48 acres in Sindh, 7 acres in Punjab, of the 1,353 acres residential land, 442 acres in Balochistan, 448 acres in Sindh, and 463 acres in Punjab, of the 1956 acres agriculture land, 46 in Balochistan, 644 acres in Sindh, 11 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1255 acres in Punjab has been encroached or occupied.
Giving briefing to the Committee on steps taken by the Ministry of Railways for the retrieval of Pakistan Railways’ land from illegal occupants, Director Land and Property stated that 3550.974 acres of Pakistan Railways’ land have been retrieved from illegal occupants since January 2012.
The committee was informed that Railways has a total of 167,690 acres land including 90,326 acres in Punjab, 39428 acres in Sindh, 28,228 acres in Balochistan and 9,707 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The committee was further informed that Railways Ministry has approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan against three provinces for not transferring the organization land title into its favour.
The Committee was also given briefing on recent Railways accidents. It was informed that the 60% of the accidents were caused due to unmanned level crossing, unauthorized Railways crossing and manned level crossing.
In order to ensure the safety of trains operations, Pakistan Railways had conducted a joint venture surveys for the up-gradations of existing unmanned level crossing in collaboration with Provincial and Local District Governments. The Committee recommended that the proper steps may taken by the Ministry to avoid these type of incidents in future.
It was further informed that 52 million passenger travel through Rail every year @ 142,465 (average) passengers daily.
In last 69 years over 6.2 billion (approx) passengers traveled with Pakistan Railways.
The committee was further informed that up gradation of Mainline (ML-1) has been included in the early harvest projects in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Committee also decided to constitute a Sub-Committee under the convenership of Ramesh Lal, MNA to examine the encroachment of Railways’ land in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Sardar Muhammad Irfan Dogar, Rasheed Ahmad Khan, Phyllis Azeem, Ramesh Lal, Engr. Hamid-ul-Haq Khalil, and Naseema Hafeez Panezai MNAs attended the meeting.