Railways asked to retrieve encroached land

Senate panel suggests forming a special unit to reclaim such properties


Our Correspondent April 11, 2019
Pakistan Railways. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Railways on Thursday directed the Pakistan Railways (PR) to submit details of its encroached land in Lahore, Tando Adam and Mardan division and urged the organisation to take solid steps to retrieve the land from illegal occupants.

The committee meeting, chaired by Senator Asad Ali Khan Junejo, briefly discussed the functions and performance of the PR police along with its role in stopping and removing encroachment on railways land across the country.

The committee appreciated the innovative steps introduced by railways authorities to improve services. However, it expressed deep concerns about the encroached property of the Railways.

The PR’s chief executive officer (CEO) informed the committee that live-tracking system has been activated in all trains to enable passengers to get information about train's timings and location on mobile phones.

He said the tracker systems are installed in train engines to get update about train location. “The passengers will receive all information, including the train's timings, in e Urdu and English languages. They would also get information during travel on engine failures and replacements,” he added.

The committee stressed the need of amendments in the railway laws to make the performance of Railways Police effective. They added that the mechanism to lease the railways property should be reviewed in depth.

Police Railways Inspector General Wajid Zia informed the committee that railways track did not come under their jurisdiction directly so they could not retrieve the encroached railways property.

He said there are 5,000 police personnel working in the field but the sanctioned strength is 7,000. The PR police needs final approval from the establishment division to overcome its shortage of staff.

Zai said about 3,979 acres land was encroached on throughout the country. However, 801 acres had been retrieved. Some 230 acres of the retrieved land are commercial in nature. The committee recommended constituting a special unit of Railways Police to retrieve the encroached land.

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