Pakistan Railways is expecting up to 15,000 acres increase in assets, estimated at billions of rupees, after completion of computerization land record project, it is learnt.
However, official sources revealed that the computerization of Pakistan Railways land record project is facing obstacles/security issues in Balochistan and encroachments – and may not be completed within the given deadline of Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.
A Land Record Management Information System (LRMS) is being developed with the support of Urban Unit of the Punjab government and an agreement has already been signed in this regard. After the completion of the project, it would be possible to ascertain ownership, location and condition of Pakistan Railways property.
Khawaja Saad Rafique has directed the authorities concerned to ensure complete computerization of the railway lands within three months. However, Railways officials said that security issues are being faced, especially in Balochistan province while conducting physical survey.
The official further maintained that some government organizations, including defence institutions, have encroached upon Railways land and therefore vacation of land may not be easy.
Sources said that the project is likely to be completed by end June 2017 against the deadline of March 2016 given by the Railways Minister. Railways has a total of 167,690 acres including 90,326 acres in Punjab, 39428 acres in Sindh, 28,228 acres in Balochistan and 9,707 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while over 4229 acres of its land valued at Rs 92.78 billion is under encroachment.
The Punjab province tops the list where 2170 acres of land is encroached followed by Sindh with 1189 acres, Balochistan with 619 acres and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 251 acres. Encroached Railway land under unauthorized occupation of the government departments, accounts for 540.668 acres. Private individuals encroached 3410 acres and defense departments 251.23 acres.
Sources said that out of the 129 acres of encroached commercial land, 73 acres is in Balochistan, 48 acres in Sindh, 18 acres in Punjab; and of 1353 acres encroached residential land, 442 acres is in Balochistan, 448 acres in Sindh, and 463 acres in Punjab; of the 1959 acres encroached agriculture land, 46 is in Balochistan, 644 acres in Sindh, 11 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1255 acres in Punjab has been encroached or occupied.
Though major portion of the encroached land is in two provinces, however Balochistan tops the list with respect to value at Rs 50.9 billion followed by Punjab at Rs 22.58 billion, Sindh 11.5 billion and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs 7.7 billion.
However officials claimed that Railway Ministry in different phases has retrieved over 3550 acres of land from illegal occupants since January 2012; and has approached the Supreme Court of Pakistan against provinces for not transferring Railway land in its favor.