Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali. Photo: File

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday reiterated his commitment to providing Rs6 billion for the Karachi Circular Railway project.

Presiding over a meeting on the KCR project at the CM House today, Murad Ali Shah assured the railways’ authorities that his government would continue supporting them in improving the operations of the KCR.

He vowed to fulfil his commitment to the KCR and urged the railway authorities to get the PC-I of the project approved by the federal government.

The chief minister also urged the railway authorities to carry out fencing work on the KRC route. Murad Ali Shah said that he would be supporting the existing KCR but would also be working to realize the dream of the people of Karachi to have a modern KCR.

He assured the railways’ authorities that his government would be supporting railways authorities in improving the operation of the existing KCR.

The meeting was told that the rehabilitation of a 14-km track from City station to Orangi station has been completed with two trains operating per day from February 10, 2021.

It is pertinent to mention here that the FWO has to start construction of three structures on the KCR route and an elevated 6.4 kilometres structure for Rs11.508 billion against which the provincial government has to pay Rs6 billion as its share.

Sindh Transport Minister Awais Qadir Shah, Minister for Local Government Nasir Shah, Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab and others were among the attendees.

The Supreme Court, on June 18, had directed the Sindh government to complete the process for approval of PC-I, signing of contract and issuance of work order of the revised design of Karachi Circular Railways tracks within a maximum period of one month.

Issuing orders on the Sindh government’s report over the KCR’s revised plan, the SC’s three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, had directed the Sindh government to ensure that all requisite financial resources are made available, so that project could be completed as expeditiously as possible.

Earlier, the counsel of Frontier Works Organizations had pointed out that the feasibility report duly approved by the Pakistan Railways has been submitted to the Sindh government, which has neither approved the PC-I nor has any contract been signed or work order issued to the FWO. He also submitted that no funds have been released for the construction of underpasses and overhead bridges.

To a court query about non-compliance of the court directives, the AG Sindh submitted that the FWO, in consultation with the Pakistan Railways, had changed the scope of the project and has submitted a feasibility report, which requires certain portions of the KCR route to be elevated and certain branch lines to be connected with the mainline, which would go much beyond the financial commitment made by the Sindh government. Contesting the AG Sindh’s statement, commander FWO submitted that the organisation had surveyed the KCR route along with experts and consultants and found it impossible to construct underpasses and overhead bridges in certain areas and the most feasible way to operate the railways was by elevating the railways’ line to minimise obstruction to the traffic. He also submitted that the overall cost of the project remains the same.

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