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Sindh govt, Railways Ministry agree to revive KCR

February 3, 2020 06:17 PM


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The Sindh government and Pakistan Railways on Monday have decided to resolve all the pending issues of Karachi Circular Railway, including handing over federally-owned Karachi Urban Transport Company (KUTC) and Right of Way to provincial government so that the [KCR] project could be started by getting its financial approval from CPEC-related Joint Coordination Committee scheduled to be held in Beijing in April 2020.

This decision was taken in a meeting between Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed at CM House in Karachi.

Murad giving chronology of the KCR to the minister said on December 3, 2016 he had requested the prime minister to include KCR in CPEC, issue Sovereign Guarantee for its revitalization. He said the prime minister [Nawaz Sharif] approved all his requests and formed a committee on the issue of handing over ROW to KUTC, therefore the matter was delayed. He added that the revival of the KCR was agreed in sixth JCC meeting held on Dec 29, 2016 at Beijing.

The chief minister said that on October 6, 2017 ECNEC approved KCR project at the cost of Rs207.6 billion ($1.97 billion) through Chinese loan. The Transport & Mass Transit Dept issued administrative approval of the project on Nov 8, 2017.

According to the chief minister the KCR was technically qualified and matured for implementation in the 7thJCC meeting held on November 21, 2017. In 8thJCC meeting held on December 20, 2018 the importance of the KCR was recognized and in the 9thJCC meeting held in Islamabad on November 6, 2019, the Chinese side stated that the Pakistan Government should submit the financing request to the Chinese side.

The CM said he had held a meeting with Chairman CPEC Authority Lt Gen Asim Bajwan in Islamabad who had assured that the KCR project would be implemented in true letter and spirit.

The chief minister said that in KUTC in which federal government owned 60 percent shares and provincial governed owned 40 percent shares had not been handed over to Sindh government so that a consultant could be appointed to carry forward the KCR matters.

At this Sheikh Rasheed told the chief minister that he was handing over KUTC to Sindh government. For the purpose, a committee under Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and Federal Secretary Railways was constituted to finalise the formalities and arrangements of handing over KUTC to Sindh government within a month. The chief minister said that the KUTC would have to file an application with SECP for change of administration.

Talking about removal of encroachment along the KCR route, the chief minister said that out of 38 kilometres, 33 kms have been cleared and only 5kms were left.

At this Railway Minister and the chief minister constituted another committee under Commissioner Karachi with DS Railways Karachi and other concerned officers as its members for clearing of the remaining part of the KCR route. The committee has been directed to clear the way within a month and report to the government.

The chief minister said that signing of Framework Agreement is pending in the Ministry of Planning & Development for its concurrence from federal cabinet and onward transmission to the National Development & Reform Commission, China. He also added that the Concessional Financing request was pending in the Economic Affairs Division of federal govt which has to forward the request through Embassy of China. He also said that issuance of sovereign guarantee was pending with Finance Division. “It should be expedited for achieving comfort of financial institutions,” he said.

The minister assured the chief minister that his ministry would extend maximum cooperation to start the KCR project at the earliest. It was also agreed that the affected people of KCR would be rehabilitated by constructing their houses on Railway Land, where available.

Murad said they must make all the arrangements, including clearance of the Right of Way, documentation and relevant paper work by end of March so that the financial releases of KCR could be negotiated in the forthcoming JCC meeting scheduled to be held in Beijing in April 2020. –INP



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