Karachi: The Sindh government and Pakistan Railways have reached an accord to resolve all pending issues hindering Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) – including the handover of the Karachi Urban Transport Company (KUTC) and right of way (ROW) to the provincial government – according to news sources.
The handing over of the federally-owned KUTC will enable the Sindh government to initiate the project after getting financial approval from the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC) -related Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) set to meet in April 2020 in Beijing.
This important announcement was made after a meeting between Chief Minister (CM) Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shad and Railways Minister Shiekh Rasheed Ahmed at the CM’s residence.
Minister Rasheed was given a chronological overview of the KCR project by CM Shah, who said that he had requested the then prime minister to incorporate KCR under the CPEC framework, issue sovereign guarantee for its revitalization, and hand over the KUTC and ROW to Sindh government back in December 2016.
According to the CM, below is the account of progress made on the KCR project:
- 6th JCC meeting held on Dec 29, 2016 at Beijing; an agreement reached to revive KCR.
- KCR approved at a cost of PKR 207.6 billion (to be funded by a Chinese loan) on Oct 6, 2017
- The administrative approval was given to the project by the transport and mass transit department on Nov 8, 2017.
- KCR was technically qualified and matured for implementation in the 7th JCC meeting held on Nov 21, 2017.
- The importance of the KCR was recognised in the 8th JCC meeting held on Dec 20, 2018.
- The Chinese side stated that the Pakistan government should submit the financing request for the project, during the 9th JCC meeting held in Islamabad on Nov 6, 2019.
A committee was constituted to finalise the formal arrangements of the KUTC handover in a month under the supervision of the chief secretary and railways secretary.