ISLAMABAD  -  Ministry of Railways is in the process of finalizing the computerization of its land record aiming at to retrieve the encroached land from illegal occupants.

“The project for computerization of railway land record was initiated in 2015 with the assistance of Urban Unit to harmonize the railway land record with the record of all the provincial revenue departments,” an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP.

He said the project is near completion and will safeguard railway land through a computerized monitoring system and will render total transparency in land management.

To a question, he said that detailed survey was carried out to identify and work out the details of encroached land, un-authorized occupation by individual encroachers and under illegal occupation of government departments.

The anti encroachment campaign was started and is being monitored by the Divisional Superintendents, Headquarters office and at the level of Ministry of Railways, he added.

“A comprehensive policy has been drawn to prevent further encroachments. This policy makes the concerned Pakistan Railway field officers/officials and Railway Police officials jointly responsible in case of any new encroachment,” he added.

He said that Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and joint procedure orders have since been issued for strict implementation of this policy.  The official said that First Information Reports (FIRs) are being lodged and cases are registered and sent to Railway judicial Magistrates for expeditious trial.

“During the previous campaign, 3,993 cases were registered and 4,333 accused were arrested during the anti-encroachment operations,” he added.

He said that 2,361 cases have been decided by the courts so far. The accused involved in 2,318 cases were convicted whereas 43 accused were acquitted by the courts of law. 158 cases are under investigation.

The issue regarding illegal occupation and possession of railway land by government departments and institutions has also been taken up with concerned departments. “As a result of these steps of Pakistan Railways has managed to retrieve around 3,721 acres railway land.