KARACHI: Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali has directed the transport department to make efforts to float an international tender for the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project so that it can be started on December 25, the birthday of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting on the KCR at CM House on Friday. The meeting was attended by Transport and Information Minister Nasir Shah, Planning and Development Chairperson Muhammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to the CM Sohail Rajput, Transport Secretary Saeed Awan, Energy Secretary Agha Wasif and others. Top officials of various Chinese firms also attended the meeting.
The CM said that the KCR is the most important project in the city and has been included in the China-Pak Economic Corridor after a lot of effort. “I want to perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the project in December,” the CM said.
Briefing the CM, the transport minister said that the project was approved by the Central Development Working Party in May. “Now the project is being taken to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for approval,” the transport minister said.
On this, the CM directed Waseem to expedite the paper work for placing the project in ECNEC. “I want the international tenders for the project to be invited in October,” he said.
The transport minister said that there were some encroachments on the KCR right-of-way. Some factories located between Wazir Mansion and Manghopir are releasing effluent on the right-of-way and some cattle pens and dense bushes have also emerged. “This causes serious problems in the survey work, which is in progress,” the transport minister said.
Keeping the situation in view, the CM constituted a task force under the Karachi commissioner with all the deputy commissioners, the metropolitan commissioner, Karachi Development Authority director-general, Karachi Urban Transport Corporation managing director, municipal commissioners of all district municipal corporations and the Karachi DIG as members.
The task force is to formulate a plan of action and take immediate measures for the removal of the encroachments that cropped up after 2013. It will also propose a compensation package for the registered project affected people.
Awan said that according to a survey by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the project-affected households stand at 4,653.
The railway land required for the KCR right-of-way is 360 acres.
The area under encroachment is 67 acres, including 47 acres on the right-of-way loop and 20 acres on the UP mainline, he said, adding that there are 2,997 structures along the right-of-way and 4,653 encroachers.
The CM said that initial estimated cost of the KCR is around $2 billion, adding that the Sindh government would release the mobilisation cost of the project so it could be started in December.
The CM said that he was keen to perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the KCR on December 25 – Jinnah’s birthday. “I would appreciate if the groundbreaking ceremony of the project is arranged at Wazir Mansion – the residence of Quaid-i-Azam,” he concluded.