Railways plans vertical housing for encroachers

Indian Railways is working on a proposal to provide affordable shelter for slum-dwellers who have encroached railway land on its track sides. With encroachment near railway tracks posing serious security threat, the Railway is working on a proposal to provide affordable shelter for slum-dwellers on the encroached railway land.

The proposal, yet to be given final shape by the Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, aims to build multi-storey housing complex on 30 per cent of illegally occupied land to rehabilitate slum-dwellers and leave the rest for the transporter. According to a Board official, the slum rehabilitation proposal, once finalised, can be replicated across the country considering around 2,000 hectares of railway land encroached by slum-dwellers, mainly along the rail tracks.

There is encroachment on around 2,000 acres of railway land, mostly by slum-dwellers, Bansal told Rajya Sabha, adding that high-rises could be constructed and rest of the land could be utilised by rail authorities. He, however, emphasised that the proposal is at a preliminary stage and final decision will be taken by the Union Cabinet and Prime Minister.

The Minister admitted that demand for relocation of slum-dwellers has come from Delhi and Maharashtra. Railways is in talk with State governments and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) to work out a formula on financing and implementing these projects.