Zamir Sheikh - Inclusion of three major projects of Sindh province to the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor- Karachi Circular Railways, Keti Bandar and Dhabeji Special Economic Zone in the multi-billion-dollar project, open up new vistas of development and prosperity in the province and also ameliorate the lot of masses.

Out of Rs149.5b earmarked for the CPEC projects, more than half i.e. Rs80.7b has been allocated for projects in Punjab trailing behind KP with Rs39.8b. Balochistan would receive Rs18.1b whereas Sindh will get a share of Rs6.5 billion.

Karachi Circular Railway (KCR)

Karachi is one of the most populated cities of the world. In 2016, its population is estimated at around 25.1 million which is more than Tokyo, Guangzhou, Seoul, Delhi, Mumbai, Mexico City, New York, Sao Paulo, Manila and Jakarta. The population of the city would touch 34.3 million in 2030, according to Sindh government estimates.

There will be ample returns of any investment made in the city. The transport facilities available in the city showed that said there were 3.9 million registered vehicles in the Karachi. “Some 24 million trips are generated daily, 42 percent are catered by public transport employing 4.5 percent of the registered vehicles.

The information garnered there are “6,457 buses of various sizes plying on 192 routes. Besides it, there are 2,715 contract carriages (buses and coaches). Some 85 percent or 5,400 of these buses are more than 2 years old which means fuel consumption is high and services are poor.

Traffic volume and occupancy rate, said that “4.5 percent of total vehicles (public transport) carry 42 percent passengers. 36.5 percent of total vehicles (private) carry only 21 percent commuters.”

Modal distribution of vehicles volume, there were 47.3 percent motorcycles, 36.5 percent private vehicles, 9.9 percent para transit, 4.5 percent public transport and 1.7 percent contract carriage.

Whereas modal distribution of passengers, report said that 42 percent of the commuters use public transport, 21 percent private cars, 19 percent motorcycles, 10 percent contract carriage and 8 percent para transit.

The strength of KCR, the report said was high public demand with ample ridership of 700,000 per day. “The project has been approved by ECNEC, and its feasibility study has been conducted for which third party validation of feasibility study has been completed,” he said.

It’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) has also been done, relocation of utility services are not required, K-Electric has assured uninterrupted power supply, federal and provincial taxes have been exempted, integration with BRTS Lines have been made and the institutional framework in the shape of Karachi Urban Transport Company (KUTC) is available,” he further informed the JCC.

Time saving effect of KCR, survey said, “KCR would take 28. 20 minutes from North Nazimabad to Karachi Cantt while a bus takes 56.25 minutes. From Nipa to Baldia the KCR would take 23.2 minutes while bus takes 60.35 minutes. From Drigh Road to Karachi City the KCR would take 19 minutes while bus takes 65.50 minutes. From Baldia to Karachi City the KCR would take 10 minutes while bus takes 49.25 minutes. Similarly, from Baldia to Drigh Road the KCR takes 28 minutes while a bus takes 83.40 minutes.”The Sindh government invited investors to contribute in equity of KCR along with governments of Pakistan and Sindh. The equity IRR, compatible with infrastructure projects currently being developed in Pakistan, would be offered to the investors.

In the conclusion of his presentation, the chief minister sought Chinese cooperation to include the project in CPEC. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved its inclusion in the CPEC and has also assured sovereign guarantee,” he said.

The chief minister directed Transport Minister Nasir Shah to expedite the work of conducting feasibility within the stipulated time.

Keti Bandar project

Pakistan’s coastline is more than 1,000 kilometres long. It has three major ports, Karachi, Bin Qasim and Gwadar. Keti Bandar is an ideal location to serve as a Thar Coal-based power park and an important port for future exports.

Keti Bandar is located at a distance of 160 kilometres from Karachi and connected with metallic road. It is in the south of Thatta and it is located in the south of Karachi… Keti Bandar is also in the proximity to Thar Coal field. It has easy road connectivity with Karachi-Lahore Motorway.”

Thar coalfield has been declared Special Economic Zone and it encompasses projects supporting Thar having multiple economic benefits. There is sparse population and would be less environmental effects. There is vast area available for Power Park and other uses.”

Keti Bandar is most suitable location for Power Park because there is availability of coolant (water) and fuel (coal). A new jetty at Keti Bandar would enhance country’s capability to export coal with potential to develop it as a full port.”

There would be able to exploit full potential of Thar coal reserves with the construction of new jetty as it would minimise cost of electricity produced from Thar coal. This would enhance country’s competitiveness by providing affordable electricity.

The power park would have the capacity of generating 10,000MW and there would be a transmission line to connect Keti Bunder with Jamshoro and Matiari grids.

According to plane  235 kilometre long railway line from Islamkot to Keti Bandar would be laid to transport coal. A 190-km long road will be constructed to connect Keti Bandar with Nooriabad.

A comprehensive bankable study of the coal reserves is being conducted and the master plan will cover all auxiliary infrastructures.

Dhabeji Special Economic Zone

Sindh is the first province of Pakistan to have introduced special economic zones- Bin Qasim Industrial Park, Korangi Creek Industrial Park and Khairpur Special Economic Zone.

Special Economic Zone Authority Sindh proposes the Dhabeji and Keti Bander SEZs, both in Thatta district.”

Dhabeji, stretches over 1,000 acres and is about 55 kilometres from Karachi at the Easter alignment of CPEC (N-5) or M-9. It has commercial viability and development potential in the immediate term.

Keti Bander SEZ stretches over 3,000 acres and is at 153kms from Karachi. Its industrial development potential would be realised after the construction of port.

Both the SEZs were discussed by Sindh government, Planning Commission of Pakistan and its Chinese counterpart NDRC on November 16, 2016.

Soil investigation has been conducted for both the proposed SEZs and commercial feasibility and master plan would be done soon.

Wind Energy Corridor

Sindh possesses considerable potential (50,000 MW) of electricity generation through wind energy in southern Sindh. The Gharo - Jhimpir wind corridor is 60 kms wide and 180 kms long with monthly average wind speeds exceeding 7-8 meters per second. At present Fauji Fertilizers has setup 48megawatt wind power project.