As many as 241 acres of Pakistan Railways land has been encroached by different government entities across the country, a sub-committee of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways was informed on Tuesday.
Chaudhry Hamid Hameed, convenor of the body, presided over the meeting held to discuss the encroachment of the Railways land and to develop a mechanism to evacuate it, in addition to deliberating on the lease policies of Railways land, operation of Railways trains with punctuality, and the privatization of trains.
The parliamentary panel questioned the privatization of Railways trains and sought its complete details in the next meeting.
Briefing the committee, Railways officials said that the entire record of the Railways land had been digitized. They informed the committee that 181-acre Railways land had encroached in Rawalpindi only. They added that the strategic land with Rangers had been regularised. They said that over 4,058 kanals of Railways land, encroached in Wazirabad, was cleared.
The committee was further informed that about 2,913 leases were about to expire. “Make a policy for those who build houses on Railways land,” emphasized Member Committee Afzal Dhandla.
Regarding further lease of Railways lands, the railway officials said that the new lease was banned by the Supreme Court for which a review petition was filed.
Sabir Hussain Kaim Khani, a member of the committee, questioned the privatization of trains and criticized their lack of punctuality in operations. To this, the convener directed for providing complete details of the privatization of trains, in addition to the time of their arrival, departure and working hours. He said the Railways situation in Sukkur and Hyderabad will also be discussed in the next meeting. “Pakistan Railways Board does not exist, in fact,” said the committee members.