Pakistan Railways has retrieved as many as 961 acres of its land worth Rs23,406 million during various anti-encroachment operations across the country from the land grabbers. “Around 480 acres retrieved in Punjab, 139 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 331 acres in Sindh and only 24 acres in Balochistan,” an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP. He said that about 3,287 acres in Punjab, 832 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 5,180 acres in Sindh, and 687 acres of land in Balochistan were being encroached. The official said that in the light of the directives of the Supreme Court, the anti-encroachment operations for retrieval of encroached railway land all over the Railway network were initiated and a joint procedure order was issued to all Divisional Superintendents for retrieval of Railways land from encroachment. “The anti-encroachment schedules, on a three months basis, are being prepared and sent to all concerned in line with the joint procedure order,” the official added. He said Pakistan Railways had also decided to accelerate its ongoing anti-encroachment operation against land grabbers across the country to recoup its land from different individuals, groups, and even business organizations who were using it for residential, commercial, and agriculture purposes for decades. “The encroachment operation will be launched with the assistance of Railway Police and district administrations of the relevant provincial governments,” he added. He said the government was taking several steps to retrieve encroached land from the land grabbers including a detailed survey being carried out to identify the encroached land, occupied by the individuals and under illegal occupation by various government departments. The official said that First Information Reports (FIRs) were being lodged and cases were registered and sent to PR Judicial Magistrates for expeditious trial. The issue regarding illegal occupation and possession of PR’s land by government departments and institutions has also been taken up with the concerned departments, he added. The official said PR owned 167,690 acres of land across the country, of which 90,326-acre was in Punjab, 39,428-acre in Sindh, 28,228-acre in Balochistan, and 9,708-acre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. To a question, he said Pakistan Railways’ major portion of around 9,986 acres of land worth billion of rupees were found under illegal occupation of private, individual, and different government departments across the country. Meanwhile, Pakistan Railways is all set to resume Green Line Passenger Train operations from Islamabad to Karachi in mid-January as a superior service to facilitate the passengers and generate revenues for the department. “The train is comprised of two AC Parlor, five AC Business, six AC Standards, and four to five economy class coaches which will facilitate the passengers on the route,” an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP. He said the decision was taken on the directives of Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, who wanted the best arrangements for the Green Line passenger Train for travelers. The official said that the minister also directed the official concerned for reducing the travel time of the Green Line from Lahore to Karachi to less than 20 hours which would restore the confidence of the passengers. “It is also decided to provide the best travelling facilities in the Green Line train including the provision of high-quality food and keeping the ticket price at an affordable level. Besides, a separate LCD will be installed on each seat of the AC Parlor to let passengers enjoy favourite videos through headphones,” he added. It is pertinent to mention here that the Green Line Train had been scheduled to start operations from December 20 last but due to some financial and other issues now it would start operations from mid-January. To a question, he said Pakistan Railways was also going to expedite work to improve services in the passenger trains as well as at the major railway stations by involving the private sector which would help address growing issues, especially related to cleanliness. “The department was of the view that the cleanliness-related services in trains and at major stations, including Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Khanewal, Sukkur, Sahiwal, Multan, and Bahawalpur were not satisfactory,” he added. He said that if services of the private sector were hired under a fast-track policy, the hygiene conditions at stations and in trains could be improved which would also restore the confidence of passengers in the department. The official said the minister also asked the officials to accelerate efforts to bring uniformity in the design and signboards of stalls at the major railway stations under a policy. The official said that the government was taking several steps to improve the performance of Pakistan Railways and would provide maximum facilities to the masses.