The Pakistan Railway has pledged to clear the Karachi Circular Railway’s (KCR) right of way in the next 15 days, in the light of the Supreme Court (SC) order of last week, in which it gave two-week time to the relevant authorities to retrieve the land along the tracks of the KCR and hand it over to the Sindh government.
DS Railway Karachi Syed Mazhar Ali Shah told a press conference on Thursday on the ongoing anti-encroachment operation that on the first day of the operation they had cleared a portion of the track stretching over 13,300 feet of encroachments. “We will make every effort to clear the KCR land of encroachments in the next 15 days,” he said.
On Wednesday, he said, with the cooperation of the district administration they had removed more than 300 shanties and other concrete structures in Gulshan-e-Iqbal’s Block 13-D opposite the Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology.
He explained how complicated the issues pertaining to the land of KCR were. ”If we try to resolve all those issues, we will never be able to get rid of encroachments,” he said and added that as for now their motive was just the revival of the KCR in public interest.
In order to revive the KCR land, he said that they had prepared two route plans, one of which was underway. “We have initiated our operation in District East,” he said and added that later they would extend their operation towards District West and other districts of the city.
During the operation, he said that the Sindh government was on board. In order to make the KCR functional, he said that they had to clear some 11.5 acres of land from encroachments. Around 350 acres of land, he said, already has been cleared. The 67 percent of the new design of the KCR designed by the Sindh government, he explained, was elevated.
The Pakistan Railway’s ML-1 project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be from Karachi all the way till Peshawar, in which the train would run over 2,000 kilometres at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour.
In Karachi, this project will start from Keamari and will go towards Drigh Road. The right of way of this project and the KCR, he said, is similar. In the overlapping section of the similar right of way, he said that the government would have to decide if they want to go elevated, in detailed designing.
Operation’s 2nd day
On the second day of the operation to clear the KCR’s right of way, according to a press statement issued from the Karachi commissioner’s office, an operation was carried out near Nipa along the University Road station in Benazir Abadi.
A large contingent of police force was present at the site. Before the operation, the residents of katchi abadis were asked to vacate the land. “No untoward incident was observed during the operation,” the statement said and added that the point where the operation took place was taken over by the shanties and car and motorbike parking was done there.