KARACHI  -    Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani said on Saturday that encroachments on the Karachi Circular Railway track had been removed.

“There is no encroachment on the railway track; it is right of way of the railway track that has encroachment,” he said while talking to media after reviewing the anti-encroachment drive on the railway track. He was accompanied by Deputy Superintendent of Railways Syed Mazhar Ali Shah on Saturday.

It is pertinent to mention here that the apex court judge during a hearing at the Karachi Registry of the Supreme Court (SC) on May 9 had directed the Sindh government to revive the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) within a month once encroachments on the track are cleared.

He said they were working with the railway authorities to implement the apex court orders to clear encroachments on the track of the Karachi Circular Railway. “Joint teams have been formed to carry out the activity,” he said.

Shallwani said that 50 feet space will be cleared along the track and encroachments on nine kilometre track from City Railway Station to Baldia are being removed.

“All bazaars, markets and shops along the track of the KCR will be removed,” he said, adding that the Bachat Bazaar in Gulshan-e-Iqbal along the track would also be removed.

He said the court had given a year to accommodate the affectees of the encroachment drive.

The commissioner, during his visit to railway stations at Maripur, Site, Lyari and Baldia, directed the authorities to expedite the anti-encroachment drive so that it could be completed within the stipulated time given by the apex court.

He said if the KCR track is made operational then it will be able to commute people from City Station to Baldia within 20 minutes. “Covering this distance on Karachi roads within 20 minutes is impossible,” he said.

The DS Railways said that they were removing encroachment on KCR track with the support of the commissioner and so far they were able to clear 14.5 acres of land.

Encroachments near Cantonment Station removed

INP adds: The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) carried out an anti-encroachments operation on Friday night in the vicinity of city’s Cantonment Railway Station.

Various illegal bus stands, offices, hotels, roadside dhabas and numerous other structures were demolished by the KMC anti-encroachments cell.

Contingents of police and Rangers were present during the operation. Two days earlier, over 300 bamboo shacks and concrete structures were removed from the track of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) by the Pakistan Railways staff.

A portion of the track stretching over 13,300 feet was cleared of encroachments, as per officials.

The Supreme Court had recently ordered the authorities to remove encroachments and illegal structures from the route of the KCR within a month. The city authorities in the previous phase of the drive against encroachments had cleared 7.2 kilometers of the railway track in district central of Karachi.