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Railway colony breathes easy

A major portion of railway land near Ranchi station was freed of encroachers on Wednesday in a massive eviction drive carried out by the district administration.

A team, comprising a magistrate, few railway officials and over a dozen security personnel, moved in with an earthmover at the south railway colony around 10 in the morning.

By the time the anti-encroachment drive ended at 5pm, nearly 500 illegal establishments, mostly mud hut with thatched roofs, were pulled down and over 2,500 rendered homeless.

Although the illegal settlers were initially reluctant to move out, they did not create any trouble and let the team proceed.

Several notices had been sent to them in the past year.

“The railway colony, where employees in quarters, is spread over 10 acres. Encroachments, including mud houses, shops and cattle sheds, had come up in several places. Many of the huts were there for decades. We have cleared nearly all the encroachers and freed the place for the railways,” said Subedar Ram, the magistrate who had been deployed by the administration to oversee the anti-encroachment drive.

He confirmed that there was no untoward incident and the drive went on smoothly. “Though the illegal occupants had initially tried to resist us, they finally relented. The drive was largely peaceful,” Ram said. However, the squatters rued that the authorities ousted them without making any alternative accommodation arrangement for them.

“We had been living here for nearly 15 years. Now, where do we go? The state government should set up residential facilities for us,” said Sanjay Kumar, whose hut was demolished during the drive.

Anti-encroachment drives started in the state capital around two years ago after an order by Jharkhand High Court.

The district administration carried out eviction drives at places like Naga Baba Khatal near Kutchery Chowk, Islam Nagar, Pahadi Mandir, Dhurwa et al. The encroachments at the south railway colony were brought to its notice by the authorities of Ranchi railway division.

“Railway employees living in quarters at the colony had time and again complained about the illegal occupants, saying that they were creating nuisance in the area. They felt relived after we cleared out the settlers,” said a railway official, requesting anonymity.

Also, the land is now free for the railways to add new infrastructure, the official added.

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