KARACHI: A drive against illegal encroachments on the land of the Circular Railway got under way here on Tuesday. Heavy machinery is being used to clear encroachments from the rail track, which spans over 20 stations and stretches for 43 kilometres. In the first phase, the furniture market located in Gharibabad and Liaquatabad railway track will be razed. According to Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, 580 acres of railway land has been encroached upon, and the operation will aim to remove these encroachments. On Monday, railway and district administration officials visited the Gharibabad railway track ahead of the anti-encroachment drive. As the officials arrived, some store owners who had illegally set up a furniture market cleared the area themselves. Speaking to the media after reviewing the illegal encroachments on the railway track land, Additional Deputy Commissioner Wasimuddin said, “We have just come to issue a warning to those who have set-up illegal stores and from tomorrow we will begin to raze the encroachments.” There are encroachments on at least 10 points of the Karachi Circular Railway. Houses have also been built near the railway track on certain points while the land is also being used for parking purposes. An operation was also done against encroachments on M-9 highway which connects Karachi and Hyderabad, removing billboards, signboards and other settlements.