Chinese approached to include KCR in CPEC

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KARACHI: The Sindh government and Pakistan Railways have formed a Working Group to fulfill all legal requirements to hand over the administrative control of Karachi Urban Transport Corporation and `Right of Way’ of KCR to Sindh.

This decision was taken in a meeting held between Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafqiue here at the CM House on Saturday. The chief Minister said that he had taken up but rather to say revived Karachi Circular Railways project with heart and soul. “I have held a number of meetings and took this issue with Chinese authorities to include it in the CPEC and I am sure my efforts would bear fruit,” he said.

He said that the length of original KCR project is 43.12 km starting from Drigh Road to Alladin park in circular which would cost around $2609 million. He added that the present scope of the project has enhanced as it could be started from City station to Steel Mill and then along the Super Highway DHA city toward tower in circular. “This would cover the entire city, including of industrial area and residential area,” he said.

The chief minister and the federal railway minister agreed that a new feasibility may also be conducted through international bidding so that future requirement of the KCR can be covered. However, focus may be made to start the project for which he would personally visit China to to attend Joint Council for Cooperation (JCC) to take up this project for CPEC by the end of this month.

It may be noted that KCR was commissioned in 1964 and remained an effective mass transportation system till 1984. Its operation efficiency was adversely affected due to level crossings resulted in increased running time and lack of investment which also resulted in reduced number of trains. Therefore, the operational efficiency went on deteriorating, resulted in reduction of ridership and subsequently closure in December 1999.

Latter, on the behest of the federal government JICA carried out a study in 2008 and filed its report in 2009. JAICA proposed to provide soft term loan but it never materialized due to one or the other reason. In 2008, KUTC was formed with 60 percent shares of Pakistan Railways and 25 percent shares of Sindh government and 15 percent of KMC. The KUTC had to implement the KCR project. The chief minister in order to start the KCR project made a plan to take over the administrative control of KUTC.

Discussing his move, Syed Murad Ali Shah said that he had written a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif requesting him to hand over the ownership of Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) constituted to implement KCR, support Sindh government to take up the KCR project in CPEC and give sovereign guarantee for KCR project.

“I am thankful to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he approved the letter as he received it,” he said and added that he was thankful to the prime minister that he was supporting the cause of people of Sindh.

Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the prime minister has agreed to hand over the administrative control of KUTC and he has assured the Sindh government of his full support.

The chief minister and the federal minister agreed to form a `Working group’ to evolve mechanism to hand over the management of KUTC and to hand over Right of Way’ to Sindh. The group comprises ACS (Dev) Mohammad Waseem, Secretary Transport Taha Farooqui, Commissioner Karachi and from Ministry of Railway Chief Engineer Mr Bisharat, DS Karachi and Chief Marketing Manager. They would start holding meetings from next week.

The federal minister assured the chief minister that he would provide necessary expertise to Sindh government for the project.
It was agreed at the meeting that the Pakistan railways Land measuring 260 acre would be given to Sindh government for construction of KCR. It was also pointed out that there were 3600 encroachers along the KCR route; therefore the chief minister directed his team to work out a plan to remove encroachment.

Meanwhile, it was decided that beside moving forward with the JAICA study the Sindh government would also invite international firms to conduct another study of the project as its scope has increased considerably.

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