Pakistan Railway generates Rs 81m by leasing out land in KPK  

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways has earned Rs 81.72 million by leasing out unutilised land available on Mardan-Dargai section, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for various purposes during the last five years.

The railway land was leased out on both the short and long-term basis, said official sources in the Ministry of Railways.

Giving break-up, they said, the land was leased out for agriculture at Rs 0.204 million, parking at Rs 0.29 million, stacking at Rs 2.44 million and tehbazari at Rs 6.45 million.

The lease included shops at Rs 1.96 million, cattle fares at Rs 0.64 million, row for the construction of flyover at Takht Bhai at Rs 0.55 million, buildings at Rs 2.715 million and goods shed at Rs 2.937 million, besides giving land for other commercial activities at Rs 63.536 million.

The available railway land is leased out in a transparent manner through open public auction by fixing bench mark/reserve price of auction after evaluation, they added.

They said the entire section between Mardan-Dargai railway stations was free from any unauthorised occupation and encroachments.

In case of any temporary encroachments like handcarts and wheelbarrows, these are immediately handled effectively by carrying out clean-up operations in coordination with the district administration, the sources said.

They said at present, 357.20 acres of railway land exists over Mardan-Dargai section of worth Rs 1,412.00 million approximately.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Railways has decided to upgrade waiting halls at its 16 major stations by equipping them with facilities like air conditioners, Internet kiosks and televisions.

The waiting rooms at the stations are generally well maintained, however, proposals are under consideration to improve facilities for passengers at railway stations across the country, said an official in the Ministry of Railways.

Initially, 16 stations including Karachi City, Karachi Cantonment, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Okara, Raiwind, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Hassanabdal, Nankana Sahib, Narowal, Peshawar and Quetta have been selected for upgradation, he added.

He said that the scope of upgradation will cover all allied amenities for convenience of passengers. In addition, one air-conditioned waiting room for ladies and one for gents have been constructed at Lahore Station.

To a question, he said it was not a fact that substandard food and other items are being sold at railway stations at higher prices, adding the department has introduced a new catering policy whereby the sale of substandard food and other items have been completely eliminated.

“Now only branded food items are being sold,” he said, adding a system of checking has also been put in place to ensure quality and prices of eatables being sold at the stations.

Sources also disclosed that Pakistan Railways is planning to build green belts and parks on railway lands located along the rail tracks.

The project will be executed with the help of City District Government Lahore (CDGL) and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA).

Sources said that Pakistan Railways would also offer PHA to establish nurseries on its lands in accordance with the vision of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

They said that encroached land situated near populated area would be retrieved, if necessary; otherwise, houses along the track would be given a 10-feet way.

“The department was fighting a war against encroachment mafia on the various sectors and had retrieved pieces of land worth billions of rupees,” they added.

Pakistan Railways also asked the people of the areas to cooperate with the management for making green belts and parks as the community residing near the railway track were not safe.

The sources said that the chief minister has approved the project and its implementation phase would soon be started after completion of documentation process.

Source: APP

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