Karachi - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has decided to step up efforts to include Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He announced the decision while presiding over a meeting on KCR at New Secretariat here on Tuesday.

Those who attended the meeting included Additional Chief Secretary (Dev) Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch, Transport Secretary Taha Farooqui, Secretary Energy Agha Wasif, Sindh Engro Mining Company Chairman, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi and others.

Transport Secretary Taha Farooqui said that the length of KCR was 43.12 km, with 23.86 km stretch of it elevated; 3.7 km tunnel and 15.56 km on surface.

“It would have 24 stations and around 0.58 million passengers would travel in it per day,” he said, adding, “The designed speed of the train would be 100 kilometers per hour.”

He said that JICA was considering to provide soft loans on a mark-up of 0.1 percent repayable in 40 years, including 10-year grace period.

“Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTS) has been formed for implementation of the project,” he told the meeting.

He added that the cost of land acquisition, compensation to project- affected persons, GST, import duties and administrative cost would be borne by the stakeholders of KUTC like Ministry of Railways, Sindh government and KMC.

He also pointed out that KUTC had already been registered with the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

The chief minister was informed that the stakeholders with equity shares were Ministry of Railways, having 60 percent shares; Sindh government, 25 percent shares, and KMC, 15 percent shares.

Murad was informed that JICA had conducted a study, titled, ‘Special Assistance for Project Formulation (SAPROF-1) between November 2008 and February 2009 and furnished its report in May 2009.

“On the basis of the report, PC-I was prepared and approved by the Planning Commission of Pakistan at ECNEC meeting held on September 3, 2009,” the secretary elaborated.

He further said that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project had been approved by EPA on July 4, 2009.

“Third party validation of feasibility study by M/s Louis Berger USA. Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) of the project affectees had commenced in May 2009 and completed in 2011,” he added.

The chief minister was apprised that K-Electric had declared KUTC/KCR as strategic customers.

“A MoU was signed with then KESC, now KE, in October 2011 for uninterrupted power supply to KCR,” the secretary said, and added, “KPT had confirmed on February 2011 to hand over 0.85 acres of land to KUTC once work on KCR kicked off.”

Murad was further informed that the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) study had been approved by donor agency on July 28, 2011.

“The revised cost of the project was fixed at $2.6 billion at ECNEC meeting in 2012,” the secretary said, adding, “SUPARCO has finalised satellite imagery of KCR’s route alignment and preliminary alignment plans have been finalised in consultation with JICA experts and concerned railway officials.”

The chief minister directed the transport secretary to search other donors in order to start the project. “This is unacceptable that the project’s has been in a doldrums since 2008,” he said, and asked his team to talk to local financial institutions and international agencies. “This cannot be delayed further,” he said categorically.

The chief minister said that he would talk to the prime minister to include this important project of KCR in CPEC. “I am writing a letter to the prime minister,” he said, and added that he would also hold a meeting with the ambassador of China and Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal. The chief minister said that like Keti Bandar, KCR was also important. “I am sure my efforts would produce results,” he expressed optimism.

He observed that traffic issues in the city were on the rise and were getting complicated day by day.

“The solution to these issues lies in KCR and Rapid Bus Transport (RBT) apart from effective traffic management, widening of roads and constructing underpasses and flyovers,” the CM noted.

He directed the transport department to prepare the case for KCR’s inclusion in CPEC.

CM directs education dept to get rid of ghost teachers

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that he is keen to improve education system by returning teachers to the classrooms, developing their capacity through trainings and firing all ghost teachers.

This he said while presiding over a meeting on education department at New Secretariat here on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Education Jam Mehtab Dahar, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Secretary Education Fazal Pechuho, Principal Secretary to CM Naveed Kamran Baloch, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi and others.

He said that still he was listening about ghost teachers in the education department. “This is enough. Now block it completely and take action against those who are keeping these teachers alive on the pay role,” he directed the secretary education.

To this the secretary said that he had launched a bio-metric system through which all the ghost employees would be got rid of.

The chief minister said that he wanted school-specific recruitment of teachers so that shortage of teaching staff could be met. “In some schools there are more teachers than requirements, and in some others, there is a shortage,” he said and directed the secretary to rationalise transfers and postings in the larger interest of school education.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the teachers must take their classes. This is the only way to improve literacy rate.

“It becomes the responsibility of education department to return teachers to the classrooms not forcibly, but voluntarily,” he said, and added, “Otherwise start handing over schools to IBA and such other well-reputed organisations so that they could run them with their own teaching staff for which Sindh government will give them funds,” he added.

On the request of Minister for Education Jam Mehtab Dahar, the chief minister directed the chief secretary to depute some DMG and PCs officers in the education department for running schools.

“I have declared emergency in education, but still I am not satisfied with the results,” he deplored.

The chief minister urged the minister for education to focus on teachers training. “The communication and teaching skills of our teachers must be strong enough,” he said and added that teachers must know that punishment scared children and made them run away from schools. “Now teaching methods have changed, and we have to adopt them,” he asserted.

It was also pointed out in the meeting that the working women hostel of Women Development Department in Shaheed Benazirabad had been occupied by police to house DIG’s office.

The CM directed the chief secretary to talk to IG police and get the hostel vacated.

CM Visits NADRA Center: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah visited Sindh Employees Smartcard Center, established by NADRA on the ground floor of new secretariat where he was briefed about the facilities introduced for the Sindh government employees to issue them CNIC/smart cards etc.