RAWALPINDI - A new tug-of-war began between Pakistan Railways and Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday when Pakistan Railways got vacated its nine kanals of land encroached by eight factories at Rawat Industrial Estate.

However, President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Jawed Akhter Bhatti opposed this act of Pakistan Railways saying, “DS Railway took this step to force the owners of factories to pay him extortion money.” According to details, a team of Pakistan Railways with police launched the operation under the supervision of Divisional Engineer Arif-ur-Rehman and Assistant Engineer Abrar Naqvi.

The railways officials bulldozed the boundary walls of the eight factories along the railway lines. However, the team left the shelter of the company as gas cylinders were stored in the shelter. The railway officials asked the factory owner to remove it within two days otherwise the railway officials would raze it.

DE Arif, when contacted, said that the railway authorities had served notices on the factory owners and also approached the RCCI to vacate the railway land but no positive response was given from any side. He said that the Pakistan Railways owned this land which had been illegally occupied by some factory owners.

He said that the Pakistan Railways had launched the operation against the encroachment on the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan.

On the other hand, RCCI President Jawed Akhter Bhatti, blasting the DS Railway, said that he took this step without having any authentic evidence of occupation against the factory owners. He said that he held several meetings with DS Railways to solve this issue amicably but DS played a bluff game with RCCI. “DS Railways using such negative tactics in a bid to pressurise the factory owners to pay him extortion money,” Bhatti alleged.

He said that it was not established at any stage by Railway authorities that factory owners occupied on its land. He said that “RCCI is ready to solve this issue amicably but will not accept any pressure on the part of Pakistan Railways”.

DS Railway could not be contacted for his comments despite several attempts.