ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will soon request Chinese authorities for the financing of the Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project.
The decision was made in the 9th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) held in Islamabad recently.
The project can greatly reduce the public traffic woes of Karachi which lacks an effective and modern Mass Transit System.
Commissioned in 1964, KCR greatly aided the citizens till 1984 with 104 trains operating per day. However, lack of investment decreased the operational efficiency, thus the mode of transport fell out of favour with the citizens, eventually leading to its shutting down in December 1999.
Government of Japan had previously agreed to provide technical and financial assistance per a request from Government of Pakistan back in 2005-06. A pre-feasibility study was carried out by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and was completed in March 2006. The study was then revalidated by M/s Scott Wilson UK in August 2008 with some recommendations.
On May 09, 2019, the Supreme Court of Pakistan at Karachi Registry passed an order which entailed that Pakistan Railways will complete its work and Sindh Government will then take over the project and run the trains, both circular and local, and the Sindh Government will ensure that the said project is operational in one month’s time.
This led to local administration and Pakistan Railways collaborating in the removal of encroachments along KCR route. Around 4,600 encroachments were identified after a detailed survey conducted by the KCR project management a few years ago as told by Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC).
Analysts dub the project improbable due to the lack of political will as there have not been any sincere efforts made for the project.
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