No specific timeline for encroachments’ removal: Railway Min

NEW DELHI: It is not possible to give a specific timeline for the removal of encroachments on railway land given the complex nature of individual cases which often requires dealing with the state and local administrations to maintain law and order, the government has informed Parliament.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the national transporter makes continuous efforts to remove encroachments and a total of 33.67 hectares of land has been retrieved in the five years between 2018-19 and 2022-23.

Congress MP Rajani Ashokrao Patil asked the minister about the measures which have been taken to address the encroachment of approximately 782.81 hectares of railway land and if the government is collaborating with local bodies and authorities to combat such encroachment, especially in metropolitan cities.

In his reply, Vaishnaw said, “Railways carry out regular surveys for identifying encroachments and take continuous action for their removal. If the encroachments are of temporary nature (soft encroachments) in the shape of jhuggis, jhopris and squatters, the same are removed in consultation and with the assistance of Railway Protection Force and local civil authorities.”

“For old encroachments, where party is not amenable to persuasion, action is taken under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 (PPE Act, 1971), as amended from time to time. Actual eviction of unauthorised occupants is carried out with the assistance of the state government and police,” he said.

According to the minister, the railways aims to eventually remove all encroachments on its land and properties following due process of law.

“However, given the complex nature of the individual cases of encroachment which often requires dealing with state and local administration to maintain law and order, it is not possible to give a specific timeline for the same,” he said.

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