The railways has managed to get back 51 acres of its encroached land, said MNA Ramesh Lal at a meeting with the Karachi division on Wednesday. But this pales in comparison to the large tracts that are still out of reach.
The divisional superintendent in Karachi, Anzar Ismail Rizvi, said that 895 acres belonging to them was encroached on. Around 520 acres had been turned into katchi abadis, while 375 acres were being used for commercial purposes.
The MNA spoke to the media and criticised railway officers for their alleged involvement in land encroachments. “There are black sheep in every department,” he said. “It would have been impossible to take over the property without help from the inside. Some of our employees have made us weak by getting involved in such things.”
Eight acres was recovered from a man who had changed the name on the original documents and had built his office on the disputed property.
The sub-committee plans to visit Landhi and Boat Basin on Thursday to check the encroachments.
“A total of 1,751 acres of land belonging to Pakistan Railways is with the Pakistan Army and Rangers,” said the additional general manager of the Pakistan Railways, Anjum Pervaiz. “They have agreed to pay arrears of Rs39 million and will pay Rs50 million annually.” He added that they did not charge the army and Rangers exorbitantly as they did not use the land for commercial purposes.
The MNA was acting in his capacity as the convenor of the standing committee’s sub-committee for the National Assembly.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.
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