782 hectares of land encroached upon; 6.84 hectares retrieved in 2022-23 : Railways

A question raised in the Rajya Sabha sought to know if Railways had assessed loss of revenue due to encroachment of its land and what corrective steps it had taken

February 09, 2023 06:05 am | Updated 10:15 am IST - NEW DELHI

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw speaks in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi. File.

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw speaks in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi. File. | Photo Credit: ANI

Of up to 4.86 lakh land that the Railways owns, 782 hectares are encroached upon and in 2022-23 (up till December 31)— not more than 6.84 hectares of land was retrieved, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

The total land in possession of the Indian Railways is 4.86 lakh hectares as on March 31, 2022. The Northeast frontier railway zone headquartered in Assam and spread in some districts of eastern Bihar and northern West Bengal, has the largest landholding at 48,357.51 hectares followed by Northern Railways (44,005.53 hectares) and Southeastern Railways (42,850.92 hectares).

A question raised in the Rajya Sabha sought to know if the Railways had assessed the loss of revenue due to the encroachment of its land and what corrective steps it had taken.

To this, Mr. Vaishnaw replied that at certain locations, encroachments caused bottlenecks, safety hazards in train operations and difficulties in track maintenance which at times, affected both the line capacity and the throughput. This ultimately affected the revenue of the Railways which was not feasible to assess.

In 2022, the Railways released a master circular which fixed a policy for the management of railway land that included the leasing of the same for activities connected with railway working, public infrastructure, government departments, hospitals and Kendriya Vidyalayas.

“For prevention/ removal of encroachments, the Railways carry out regular surveys for identifying encroachments and take action for their removal. Encroachments of temporary nature are removed with assistance of Railway Protection Force. For old encroachments, where party is not amenable to persuasion, action is taken under Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971,” the reply said.

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