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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 1:36 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 1:36 AM (IST)

Railway properties encroached upon

Hundreds of houses in Block B Colony are under illegal occupation; demolition drive flunks
Railway properties encroached upon
Bricks and other material from a number of houses in Block A Colony have been stolen by miscreants over the years in Amritsar. photo: Sunil kumar

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 16

Railways’ properties worth crores of rupees lie encroached upon and neglected in the city. Despite numerous campaigns, the authorities concerned have garnered a little success. Residents want optimum utilisation of its prime properties.

The Railways has five colonies in the city. Its Colony No. 1 is situated on the GT Road near the Bhandari bridge while the Colony No. 2 is adjacent to the platform that extends up to the rail coach factory. The Colony No. 3 is situated near Gole Bagh and Colony Block A is close to the Cantonment area.

Among all these, Block B settlement is the least inhabited. Majority of these are partially built. The unfinished structures are marked by wild undergrowth and hence deteriorating for want of upkeep.

Unscrupulous elements have already stolen bricks, window panes and other stuff with impunity. Anti-social elements take refuge in these structures.

Sources say about half of the 1,200 quarters were classified as unfit for habitation so these were demolished some time back. Following that, work on nearly 200 quarters was initiated. However, the work was abandoned half way amid lack of funds.

About 20 per cent out of roughly 900 houses in the Block B Colony are occupied by unauthorised people.

A city resident, Dr AL Adlakha, said the Railways residences are also situated on the posh the Mall, GT and Cantonment roads. These houses were spread over several acres of land. “It is no longer tenable to provide such rambling bungalows in the contemporary period when majority of the countrymen are yearning for roof over their heads,” he said.

Citing an example of the state government, he said it demolished all such bungalows for the Irrigation Department on the Cantonment road. It raised some 50 units of flats on the land of one bungalow to provide housing to the officials of the department. Similar, optimum utilisation of space could be adopted by the Railways, he said.

Railway Station Officiating Director Amrit Singh said the department has been trying to vacate the houses.

He said one such drive was launched on Tuesday but it was called off midway after encroachers opposed the railway officials’ move. “We will paste evacuation orders before taking out the drive,” he said.

About optimum utilisation of space, he said it was a policy decision, to be carried out at the level of headquarters.


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