The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has cleared Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) as a modern urban railway project worth Rs273.1 billion and referred it to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) for further consideration.
In a meeting of the CDWP chaired by Planning Commission (PC) Deputy Chairman Jahanzeb Khan on Thursday, the railways secretary briefed the participants about the initiatives that would be taken under the project.
He said that a 43km-long dual-track urban mass transit system would be constructed in a period of three years on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.
Read: Reviving KCR
“The project is expected to serve 457,000 commuters daily,” he said and projected that the number could soar to 1 million by the end of concession period, ie 33 years.
“It will run electric trains and will remain operational seven days a week,” he underlined.
Under the project, 30 stations would be constructed along the corridor covering the most densely populated areas of Karachi, he said, adding that the main objective was to provide reliable, safe and eco-friendly public transport for the metropolitan city.
Shedding light on route alignment, he informed the meeting participants that KCR would commence from the existing Karachi City Station and would move along the mainline of Pakistan Railways on the Drigh Road station.
It will further run across Shahra-e-Faisal and will enter into Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Gulshan-e-Iqbal areas. Furthermore, it will pass through the old residential areas of North Nazimabad leading to the SITE and port area.
The project is part of the overall scheme for the improvement of transport infrastructure including the road network, provision of public transport/ mass transit facilities and traffic management in Karachi.
“The development of KCR as a modern urban mass transit system will add to the existing public transport facilities in Karachi.”
On the occasion, the PC deputy chairman noted that the implementation of the project would be a challenge.
“We need to invest in railways as the federal government is committed to the projects that support public interest,” he remarked.
As the city continues to expand, it has fallen short of meeting the rising transit demand over the past few decades primarily due to unavailability of modern mass transportation facilities and a decline in supply of large buses.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2022.
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