Northern Railway gets its land back

The Delhi division of Northern Railway on Friday declared to have reclaimed 22,000 square metre of land in the city in the current financial year when encroachment of railways’ land is a common sight across the country. 

A major chunk of the reclaimed land were mostly alongside the railway tracks in the Shakur Basti area of west Delhi, railway officials said.  

“It is an ongoing process which is being carried on. Large tract of land is still under encroachment, which needs to be reclaimed,” said Divisional Railway Manager Ashwani Lohani.

Sources in the railways said over five lakh square metre of land is under encroachmeent in Delhi itself. The land which was reclaimed this year would alone be valued around Rs 500 crore.According to railways officials, the slums which have mushroomed adjacent to the railway tracks lead to problems like theft, robbery and safety hazards as upkeep of tracks and signalling systems become vulnerable. 

“The operational hazards due to these encroachments could be very major. Any kind of sabotage, even with an intent of theft could have serious consequences. Cases of theft of fish plates and nails are very common,” said Y S Rajput, senior PRO, Delhi Division. 

The railways officials said in case of accidents at unmanned crossings, it is the railways which is always blamed. “The drive is aimed at putting a check on such things,” Rajput said.

The reclaimed area which was majorly targeted to remove encroachmnets has a railways oil depot and official quarters located near the Shakur Basti Railway station. Several cases of theft in the oil depot have been reported in the past. Moreover, the railways employees living in the official quarters also complained of theft and robbery.    

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