Railway moves against encroachers

KOCHI: The Southern Railway will put up barbed wires around its unused property in the city. Steps will be taken to remove unauthorized settlers from the railway property with the help of Kochi corporation and police.

Though the railways had informed the local body on rampant encroachments on its land, the corporation has not yet taken steps to relocate or remove encroachers.

While the railways can evict encroachers with police assistance, the local body’s intervention is helpful in avoiding unnecessary confrontation with the local people. “Once the fiscal gets over, the railways will hold talks with the local body on this aspect. The process of removing unauthorized settlers is expected to begin by April,” said Ernakulam area manager P L Ashok Kumar.

The railways had recently conducted a survey and taken a rough estimate on encroachments. The organization has large areas of unused land near Kerala High Court in Ernakulam and Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram. In Ernakulam, unauthorized settlers have mainly occupied land and building belonging to the old railway station. “We have noticed brick units, hutting, make-shift shops and other petty shops in this area. Moreover, certain parts of the unused railway tracks are tarred and is being used as extended portions of roads,” said Kumar.

Railways will also verify the land used as parking space by a government establishment functioning there. It has about 30 acres in this prime locality. The officer also said there were minor encroachments like small sheds and car porch along the main tracks.

In Thiruvananthapuram, it has 25 acres of unused land at Nemom, which is away from the heart of the city on a hilly terrain.

The railways is keen on getting encroachments removed taking into consideration the commercial value of the property as well as for future expansion plans. Though there are no concrete plans to utilize the land belonging to the old railway station, the railways can lease out the property or can build commercial complexes to generate income.