Pakistan Railways has finalised a plan for the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway, with the financial and technical assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan.
A Pakistan Railway’s spokesperson stated that the Executive Committee of National Economic Council has approved the proposal, which is estimated at around $2.609 billion. He added that the agency will arrange 93.5 per cent of the cost through a soft loan payable in 40 years, including a 10-year grace period. However, no proposal is under consideration for the provision of circular railways in any other cities at this stage, he said.
Around 100 locomotives were overhauled in the Central Diesel Locomotive, Rawalpindi workshop within a year and all efforts are being made to improve the performance and efficiency of Pakistan Railways in order to make it a profit-earning organisation. Most of the railways’ fleet, including passenger coaches, freight wagons and locomotives, are outdated and it needs funding for restructuring. To overcome the present crisis, Pakistan Railways’ administration has started to repair existing locomotives and procure new locomotives through revenue/public sector development plan, bank loans and private sector participation. It is also making efforts to get sufficient funds from the government for the rehabilitation of required locomotives, rolling stock and purchase of spare parts.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government has decided to extend emergency relief goods, including tents, blankets and plastic sheets, worth up to 35 million yen (around $437,000) to Pakistan through JICA in response to the disastrous floods caused by the heavy rains. A statement issued by the Consulate General of Japan in Karachi said that Pakistan has been hit by heavy rainfall since mid-August, which caused floods in Southern Punjab, Northern Sindh and North-Eastern Balochistan, forcing many people to evacuate. It added that the Pakistani government stated on November 7 that some 474 people were reported dead and approximately 5.4 million (including approximately 160,000 people evacuated) were affected.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2012.
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