Govt decides to revive $2b KCR project

Federal government fully committed to support KCR project for its expeditious implementation in consultation with the Chinese side,” says Asad

ISLAMABAD          -        The government has decided to revive the $2b Karachi Circular Railway project and directed EAD for finalisation of the implementation mechanism for framework agreement under CPEC. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a meeting to discuss the Karachi Circular Railway project here on Wednesday. Secretaries of Ministries of Planning, Finance, EAD, Communications and senior officials of Planning Commission participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed various issues hampering the implementation of KCR project as indicated by the government of Sindh. The minister was given a detailed briefing on the project. It was informed that PC-I of KCR project was approved in October 2017, by the ECNEC at the total cost of $1,971 million, however no progress could be made in arranging the financing for the project.

Minister Asad Umar stated that the federal government is fully committed to support the KCR project for its expeditious implementation in consultation with the Chinese side as the project will provide safe, efficient and reliable public transport for the citizens of Karachi. The minister directed Planning Division and EAD to immediately initiate work for finalising the implementation mechanism with the Chinese side.

Meanwhile, official sources told The Nation that since the project of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) was delayed for almost two and a half years therefore the existing feasibility need to be revisited. Feasibility of Karachi Circular Railways was completed in May 2017 and it needs to be updated. Similarly the cost of the scheme also requires reevaluation, the source said. The provincial government of Sindh will re-submit an updated feasibility study of the project.

The 7th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of China Pakistan Economic Corridor had agreed in principal for inclusion of Mass Transit System as part of CPEC component. The JCC had tasked Transport Working Group to work on the projects based further studies and consultation. However no implementation mechanism has been finalized during past two and a half years for the execution of KCR project, the source said. Now in the light of directives from the minister for planning, Economic Affair Division will finalize the implementation mechanism of the KCR which will be then negotiated with China for final approval. The KCR total length will be around 50 km and it includes the revival includes the transformation of the old Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) into a mass transit system.


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