PKONWEB Report – Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday said Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) could only be started A) once his office received the (court) order regarding the KCR project and removal of encroachments. B) when the federal government agrees to hand over the right of way (R.O.W) to the PPP-led provincial government.
The Sindh Government’s chief minister claimed the federal government was reluctant to hand over right of way to the provincial government for the project.
“In 2016, I had written a letter to the prime minister with the request to issue directive for handing over Right of Way (ROW) for KCR and then kept making similar requests repeatedly but all of them fell on deaf ears,” he said, adding that in such circumstances how it was possible to start the project?
Meanwhile, the much wanted and over due project remains stalled due to a decade-old federal and provincial tug of war on Railways land, the ROWs and the encroachments, observers say. “The city has not shown signs of improvement in performance, livability and governance.” they added.
About rampant illegal construction in Karachi, he said: “Those 70 per cent illegal buildings had not been built in the last 10 years. There should be a survey of such buildings and their occupants, so that alternative arrangements can be made before taking any action,” he added.
Background discussion reveals that: There are several issues still on the plate for want of political will and proactiveness: A) the track is owned by Pakistan Railway and part of the track is common with the main track alignment. B) For achieving financial close there’s a need to ring a fence around the land owned by the Railways. C) The Sindh government has put KCR forward as a CPEC project. And the provincial government needs sovereign guarantee for a 2 billion dollar loan, however, they are not able to satisfy the Federal Govt how they can repay. The federal government cannot take more debt on account of one province, a source said. The source added that D) the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) proposal is comparatively better.
Besides being the country’s economic power house, Karachi, the port city, is projected to become the world’s third most populated mega city by 2030.
Issues pertinent to transportation and commuting have become extremely acute with the passage of time. The exponential rise in numbers of cars and motorcycles, limited road space, quasi-centralized work locations that invite uni-directional peak flows of traffic, limited choices for passenger transit, inadequate parking facilities, high scale peri-urban growth and absence of a genuine mass transit system are a few grave realities.
Around 7650 structures, including 4653 houses, are illegally built on 67 acres out of 360-acre land required for the KCR.
The Supreme Court last week ordered launching of KCR within 30 days.
The court in January had issued a set of directives to authorities regarding the demolishing of illegal constructions, restoration of the metropolis to its 40-year-old state, and for razing buildings that are in violation of the original master plan.