ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways had leased out as many as 4,694 acres of its precious land during the last four years to transform the department into profitable entity by generating more revenue.
The leased-out land was located in seven divisions including Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi Multan and Sukkar, an official in the Ministry of Railways said.
He said the government was taking several steps to retrieve encroached land from the land grabbers, including carrying out a detailed survey to identify the encroached land occupied by the individuals and government departments.
He said Pakistan Railways had also decided to accelerate its ongoing anti-encroachment operation against land grabbers across the country to recoup its land from different individuals, groups and business organizations, which had been using it for residential, commercial and agriculture purposes for decades.
“The encroachment operation will be launched with the assistance of Railway Police and district administrations of the relevant provincial governments,” he added.
The official said that First Information Reports (FIRs) were being lodged and cases were registered and sent to PR judicial magistrates for expeditious trial.
The issue regarding illegal occupation and possession of Pakistan Railways’ land by government departments and institutions had also been taken up with the concerned departments, he added.
The official said Pakistan Railways owned 167,690 acres of land across the country, of which 90,326-acre was in Punjab, 39,428-acre in Sindh, 28,228-acre in Balochistan and 9,708-acre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
To a question, he said, Pakistan Railways had started special master level classes in railway engineering department in collaboration with Pak-Austria Fachhochschule Institute of Applied Sciences (PAFIST) to enhance the capacity of its engineers and technical staff.
The special master level classes were being organized through the Pakistan Railways Training Academy Walton, Lahore. The special cell for foreign training had also been set up at the Ministry of Railways.
“A policy for transfer of technology and indigenization of railway rolling stock manufacture in Pakistan Railways facilities is being pursued in closer collaboration with the People‘s Republic of China,” he added.