KARACHI  - It is human nature and bureaucratic hallmark to expect very difficult, intricate and complicated solutions to big problems. Sometimes even magical solutions to very complex problems are outright rejected only due to their simplicity and plainness. The revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KRC) could be considered as a textbook example of this flawed mentality in our country. In every modern metropolitan in the world, there is no concept of a viable urban public transport system without a rail-based public transport: surface or underground. Nowhere in the world, urban planners risk solely relying on the road-based public transport, due to its high costs and low efficiency. The rail-based public transport mode is universally considered commuter-friendly, cost-effective, timesaving, reliable and hassle-free. These are not new discoveries, but these very factors were in mind of our urban planners when they approved the Karachi Circular Railway project some half-decade back in 1960s. The KCR had been a success story during its early years, as it was a profit-making venture of the Pakistan Railways. However, some powerful lobbies representing vested interests systematically doomed this efficient and successful rail-based urban public transport system in later years. As the icing on the cake, the state-run Karachi Public Transport Corporation (KTC) was also closed down under mysterious circumstances to ensure a complete monopoly of private road-based transporters. Abrupt ending of both KCR and KTC resulted in losses of billions of rupees to Pakistani taxpayers due to cruel wastage of precious assets, machinery and equipment. Sadly, costly loans were obtained to buy buses for the KTC from foreign companies, and costlier loans were also obtained from the foreign institutions, especially the World Bank, to liquidate the KTC. The doom of the KTC and closer of KCR is considered as the biggest conspiracy against the Karachi commuters, as these acts paved way for monopolisation of private road-based public transporters. Resultantly, the Karachi commuters braved unprecedented steep rises in fare after regular intervals. The urban public transport sector is a 'service sector' and running it purely on profit making line shows lack of public welfare-oriented thinking in ruling quarters. In the civilised world the governments always subsidise this sector, as the ultimate aim is to facilitate citizens. Leaving this important social sector at the mercy of profit-hungry private sector is sheer bad governance. The recent demand of Rs2 per seat fare raise by Karachi public transporters in the wake of increased oil prices and their announcement of two-day strike on July 10-11 shows that the main motives of transporters is only to ensure that their lucrative profit margin remained unaffected. Repeated bitter experiences during last two decades had proved that the chaotic public transport issue of Karachi could never be solved without the revival of the KCR. However, for the ruling quarters it seemed hard to digest that this serious issue could be solved so easily. The novel ideas of introducing light trains, mono-trains and CNG buses simply show that ruling quarters were not confident that a simple answer like the revival of KCR could really solve this lingering and mind boggling issue. It is being claimed that the government wanted to revive the KCR through the Karachi Urban Transport Company (KUTC), a body consisted of the representatives of Pakistan Railways, Government of Sindh, and the City District Government Karachi (CDGK). Recently the first meeting of the board of directors of KUTC were held in Karachi with KUTC chairman and Sindh chief secretary Fazlur Rehman in the chair; however, it announce no deadline for the revival of KCR. The meeting was told that as per the decision of the implementation committee headed by the Minister of State for Railways 30 rail coaches would be plied in Karachi on the main track from Karachi City station to Landhi, Dhabeji and Malir Cantt railway stations. These coaches had already been repaired and refurbished in the Railway Workshop in Lahore. It was also told that the PC-1 of the project would be submitted to the Planning Commission soon after approval from the CDWP. Ironically, the meeting was told that the prime minister while inaugurating the first phase of the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) three years ago, had approved plying 10 local trains, but the Pakistan Railways, presently, was plying only four such trains due to 'income/ resources constraints'. Some reports suggest that Pakistan Railways (PR) had made all arrangements for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR); however, the federal government had yet to award the contract for the EIA. It is said that the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) will sponsor the project and the Japanese government will provide a loan of $872 million. Interestingly, all the three main stakeholders in the revival of KCR project- the Pakistan Railways, the Government of Sindh and the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) are tight-lipped regarding the fate of KCR. Senior officers of the related departments, despite repeated contacts, are not willing to issue any written or verbal on-the-record statement regarding the timeframe and modus opernadi of the revival of the KCR, which suggests that there might be something fishy. The revival of the KCR on war footing basis is a must for solving the thorny public transport issue of Karachi. This serious issue could not be solved by mere lip service, as it needed clear commitment and well-defined timeframe. It is also necessary to improve and streamline the road-based public transport system in Karachi. Many years back the city nazim Karachi had pledged to introduce 8000 CNG buses on Karachi roads, and now the Sindh transport minister has announced to ply 500 CNG buses soon. This is a welcome statement provided implemented in letter and spirit. However, the ultimate solution to the public transport issue of Karachi would be the early revival of the KCR. It is necessary that the policymakers should not be misguided by the simplicity and plainness of this solution, as in many cases the real answers to complicated problems are unbelievingly simple and easy.