Monday, July 19, 2021
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday reiterated that the provincial government was committed to providing Rs6 billion for development work to make the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) fully operational, Geo News reported.
Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah, while presiding over a meeting on the KCR at the CM House, vowed to fulfil his commitment regarding the project. He urged the railways authorities to get the PC-I of the project approved by the federal government.
Sindh Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah, Minister for Local Government Nasir Shah, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab and others were among the attendees.
The chief minister urged the Pakistan Railways authorities to carry out fencing work on the KRC route. Murad Ali Shah said that he would be supporting the existing KCR but would also be working to realise the dream of the people of Karachi to have a modernised KCR.
He assured the railways authorities that his government would be supporting them in improving the operation of the existing KCR.
The meeting was told that the rehabilitation of a 14-km track from the City Station to the Orangi station has been completed with two trains operating per day from February 10, 2021.
It is pertinent to mention that the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) has to start the construction of three structures on the KCR route and an elevated 6.4-kilometres structure at a cost of Rs11.508 billion against which the provincial government has to pay Rs6 billion as its share.
The Supreme Court, on June 18, had directed the Sindh government to complete the process for approval of PC-I, signing of the contract, and issuance of work order of the revised design of the KCR tracks within a maximum period of one month.
Issuing orders on the Sindh government’s report over the KCR’s revised plan, the SC’s three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, had directed the Sindh government to ensure that all requisite financial resources are made available, so that project could be completed as expeditiously as possible.
Earlier, the counsel of the FWO had pointed out that the feasibility report duly approved by the Pakistan Railways has been submitted to the Sindh government, which has neither approved the PC-I nor has any contract been signed or work order issued to the FWO. He also submitted that no funds have been released for the construction of underpasses and overhead bridges.
To a court query about non-compliance of the court directives, the AG Sindh submitted that the FWO, in consultation with the Pakistan Railways, has changed the scope of the project and has submitted a feasibility report, which requires certain portions of the KCR route to be elevated and certain branch lines to be connected with the mainline, which would go much beyond the financial commitment made by the Sindh government.
Contesting the AG Sindh's statement, commander FWO submitted that the organisation had surveyed the KCR route along with experts and consultants and found it impossible to construct underpasses and overhead bridges in certain areas and the most feasible way to operate the railways was by elevating the railway line to minimise obstruction to the traffic. He also submitted that the overall cost of the project remains the same.