KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali has directed Transport department to take all out efforts to float international tender for Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project so that it could be started on December 25, the birthday of Quiad-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting on KCR here at the CM House on Friday. The meeting was attended by Minister Transport & Information Syed Nasir Shah, Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Transport Saeed Awan, Secretary Energy Agha Wasif and others. Top officers of Chinese firms also attended the meeting.

The chief minister said that the KCR is most important project and with our constant efforts it has been included into CPEC projects. “Now, I want to perform ground breaking ceremony of the project in December 2017, therefore plan may be made accordingly,” he said.

Transport Minister Syed Nasir Shah briefing the chief minister said that the project has been approved by CDWP in May 2017. “Now the project is being taken to ECNEC for approval,” he said. On this the chief minister directed Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem to expedite the paper work for placing the project in ECNEC. “I want the international tenders for the project should be invited in October 2017,” he said.

Syed Nasir Shah said that there were some encroachments on the KCR Right of Way (ROW). Some factories located between Wazir Mansion to  Manghopir are releasing their affluent, [on the ROW], some cattle pens and dense bushes have also emerged along the RoW also. “This causes serious problems in the survey work which is in progress,” he said.

The chief minister keeping in view the situation and issued constituted a Task Force under Commissioner Karachi with deputy commissioners (all), metropolitan commissioner KMC, DG KDA, DG SMTC, MD KUTC, MC of all DMCs and DIG Karachi as members.

The TOR of the Task Forces are to formulate action plan and take immediate measures for removal of encroachments cropped up after 2013. It would also propose compensation package to be given to the registered project affected people (PAPs).

Secretary Transport Saeed Awan said that according to JICA survey Project Affected Households come to 4653. He added that the railway land required for KCR project (ROW) is 360 acres, the PR land on KCR loop (ROW) is 260 acres and railways land on UP Mainline is 100 acres.

He added that the area under encroachment comes to 67 acres, including 47 acres on ROW Loop and 20 acres on UP mainline. He added that there are 2997 structures along the KCR RoW and households (encroachers) are 4653.

The chief minister said that initial estimated cost of the KCR is around $2 billion and he added that the Sindh government would release mobilization cost of the project so that it could be started in December 2017.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that he was keen to perform ground breaking ceremony of the KCR on 25 December 2017, the birthday of founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. “I would appreciate if the groundbreaking ceremony of the project is arranged at Wazir Mansion- the residence of Quiad-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,” he concluded.