KARACHI  - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the Ministry of Railways is creating hurdles to the establishment of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project. 

“I am loudly telling the ministry that the railway land in the city belongs to the people of Karachi and this land would be resumed for KCR if the possession of right of way is denied.” 

He was presiding over a preparatory meeting held on Friday at the 7th floor of New Sindh Secretariat for CPEC related Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting to be held in Islamabad on November 20-21. 

In the meeting, the chief minister was told that the railways authorities were reluctant to hand over Karachi Urban Transport Company (KUTC) to provincial government. It was also pointed out that the railway authorities were also reluctant to hand over portion of railway track right from City Station to Drigh Road station for KCR.  

On this, the chief minister expressing serious displeasure said that the Ministry of Railways has never been sincere to KCR. “From the very first day, the railways ministry was creating hurdles so that it could not be implemented under CPEC,” he said and added “the land of Railways in Sindh belongs to provincial government and it would be used only for the benefit of people of the province in general and for Karachiites in particular,” he said clearly. 

The chief minister directed chief secretary Rizwan Memon to talk to railway authorities and “I would talk to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to settle the issue,” he said and went on saying that he was committed with the people of Karachi for giving them KCR. For the purpose, we worked day and night to get it included in the CPEC and finally succeeded in our efforts in December 2016. 

“Now, I cannot go on back foot. The people of this city have experienced a number of deceits but I would never deceive them on this important project of KCR,” he vowed and directed the chief secretary to talk to railway authorities and if they do not agree on handing over the right of way for construction of KCR then “resume the land and even resume that land where Pakistan Railways have started commercial activities/projects,” he said. 

It may be noted that the CPEC related JCC meeting is scheduled to be held in Islamabad on November 20-21. The Sindh government has prepared necessary documentation for signing the framework agreement of KCR with Chinese authorities to start the project. 

The KCR project has been approved from all the competent forums for over Rs207 billion. Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the provincial government has removed encroachments from right of way from Gulbai, Machhar Colony and other areas. When all the obstacles, issues and hindrances have settled now the Ministry of Railway is creating an unnecessary issue just to delay the project. But “I would not allow this and I feel it as a conspiracy against the people of Karachi,” the chief minister said and added how to thwart the conspiracies he knows very well. 

It may be noted that the KCR route is 43.1 km long, of which 13.43 km is on Pakistan Railways mainline and 29.69 km on KCR loop. The KCR project is in a circular shape staring from Karachi City Station, Dock, Karachi Cantt, Naval Estate, Chanesar, Shaheed-e-Millat, Karsaz, Drigh Road, Drigh Colony, Star Gate, Jinnah Terminal, Hill view, Johar, Aladin Park, Nipa, Gilani, Yasinabad, Liaquatabad, North Nazimabad, Orangi, Habib Bank, Manghopir, SITE, Shah Abdul Latif, Baldia Wazir Mansion, Tower and Karachi City. 

The chief Minister directed Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem to get the entire paper work completed and discuss with him so that Framework agreement could be signed in Islamabad. 

The Sindh government is also taking two more projects to JCC meeting which are Keti Bandar and Dhabeji Special Economic Zone. The chief minister directed P&D chairman to get the title of the land transferred in the name of Special Economic Zone. On this chief secretary Rizwan Memon said the process of transferring the title of the land from Board of Revenue to economic zone is in process and by the time of the meeting it would be done. 

The Chairman P&D told the chief minister that the preparation of feasibility of Keti Bandar project was at advance stage. “The provincial government would decide the time frame for submission of the feasibility with CPEC-related Chinese authorities and then the project would be submitted for approval at the local forms,” he said.