KARACHI: Railway and district authorities began an anti-encroachment drive on the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) land on Monday.
As the authorities arrived at the Gharibabad railway track to inspect the encroachments, the store owners who had set shop on the land began to clear the area themselves.
Speaking on the occasion, Additional Deputy Commissioner Wasimuddin told reporters that they had come to take a look today, while they’ll begin razing encroachments to the ground from Tuesday.
He revealed that the first phase of the operation will focus on the Gharibabad furniture market and clearing of the Railway track.
Earlier last month, the acting chief justice had directed the city’s deputy commissioners to oversee the removal of encroachments hindering KCR’s path after the divisional superintendent of PR informed him that illegal encroachments were a core issue in KCR’s revival.
The KCR has a long, sad and puzzling history, both before and since it virtually ceased to operate in 1999. Meanwhile, the city’s population has grown rapidly, swollen by a high birth rate and a steady influx of immigrants and refugees.
The project was launched during President Ayub Khan’s tenure in 1962. The service became a full circle of 44km in 1970 and connected Karachi’s four main work areas: the port, the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE), the city’s central commercial areas such as Saddar and the Landhi Industrial Area.
It was the usual mode of transport for people of Karachi till 1984 until the number of its trains was reduced due to high fuel and operational costs, besides poor maintenance which led to little to no revenues. An amalgamation of these and other factors caused the KCR to completely shut down its operations in 1999.