KARACHI: The anti-encroachment operation for the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) continued for the eighth consecutive day on Thursday. The operation, however, has been delayed till tomorrow due to some resistance by the residents.
The operation began at 10am and continued without any interruption till 4pm. More than 60 concrete houses constructed in a 50 feet radius along the KCR track in Central district’s Gharibabad have been demolished on judicial orders under the supervision of railway authorities, district administration and police officials.
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During the operation, announcements were made on loudspeakers for the residents to vacate their houses. Heavy police force, including lady police officials, was also deployed in the area due to the security concerns. The residents and area locals expressed anger over the anti-encroachment drive and tried to put a stop to it. This led to a clash between the police officials and the residents, however, the police were able to control the situation.
The railway administration decided to stop the operation after the clash and postponed it till tomorrow.
Railway SSP Shehla Qureshi said that the anti-encroachment operation had entered Central district. The residents of Gharibabad were informed about the operation yesterday, said Qureshi adding that soft encroachments were also removed from the area. The concrete structures are being razed now. She said that there were more than 300 residential units which have to be razed.
Pakistan Railways Karachi Assistant Engineer Shah Muhammad Mastoi said that the residents of these units were told on Wednesday to vacate the place by Sehri on Thursday. Mastoi said, “We gave as much time to the residents as they wanted. We will continue the operation and remove the encroachments from both the sides of the track”. There is no shortage of machinery, he added.
The residents said that they have been residing in the same houses for years. Such operations have never occurred in Nawaz Sharif or Benazir regimes, they said adding that the federal government has brought the people on road.
They said that they had not given votes to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf so that they could deprive the poor of shelter. People are being deprives of their houses while fasting.
The residents asked where the people could go in times of high unemployment and inflation rates. The government could have launched the operation after Eid, they said and asked where would they go now. They should have provided an alternative place if the operation had to be done, the residents said.
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Referring to Imran Khan’s promise, they said that the change has really taken place. They requested the government to wait till Eid and start the operation after it.
According to the railway authorities however, the anti-encroachment operation at Gharibabad will restart tomorrow morning, following which, the encroachments in the surroundings of Liaquatabad railway station tracks will be removed.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2019.
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