Next stops in KMC’s anti-encroachment drive include Arambagh, Lighthouse


— KMC finalises plan to clear Karachi Circular Railway area

KARACHI: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) is next launching an anti-encroachment operation in the Arambagh and Lighthouse areas after it finished demolishing illegal encroachments in the city’s Empress market.

On Sunday night, the city development authority announced the operation on loudspeakers, warning shopkeepers to move out their merchandise as it will begin demolishing all shops on the Lighthouse nullah that have beeen built illegally.

According to official data, there are nearly 300 shops in the market that reportedly dates back to 1952. The shopkeeps claim that the historical market was not built illegally and they deposit the rent in KMC’s bank accounts twice a year.

In light of the Supreme Court’s orders to remove encroachments from the city, the shopkeepers have demanded that they be accommodated in alternative locations after their shops are torn down.

Meanwhile, KMC has also finalized a plan to get rid of encroachers on some 360 acres of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).

According to reports, a big operation will be carried out in phases in which heavy machinery would be used and help from police and rangers would be sought for security of demolition staff.

They said that as many 5,653 illegally-constructed structures will be razed during the operation.  More than 29 acres of KCR land is under occupation near Wazir Mansion, another 2 acres from Wazir Mansion to Orangi Nullah, 1.5 acre from there to Nazimabad, another 2.5 acres from there to Liaquatabad, and from there to Gilani Railway station another 3.25 acres were under illegal occupation.

KCR land of 2 acres is encroached upon from Gilani up to Urdu University, another 4.25 acres up to Karachi University, and another one acre to Depot Hill near the Drigh Road station.

Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) is a defunct regional public transit system in Karachi, which served the Karachi metropolitan area between 1969 and 1999. Revival of the railway has been proposed. With its hub at Karachi City station on I. I. Chundrigar Road, KCR’s revived operations would extend as far as Gadap to the north, Dhabeji to the east, Kiamari to the south and Hub to the west.

The efforts to revive KCR have been proposed several times since becoming defunct, though it remained unfulfilled due to lack of financial and political backing. In May 2017, the Government of Pakistan (GoP) had approved a 27.9billion (US$260 million) restoration package for the KCR.

However, now the apex court has ordered to remove all encroachments from the KCR land and revive this local train system for benefit of the megacity commuters.