THE Sindh chief minister is planning to revive the Karachi Circular Railways project at a cost of Rs247 billion. The Sindh government will invest 6.50% of the total amount while 94% of the money will be provided by the Japan International Corporation Agency. The scheme would be operational in four years.
Before 1988, 10 local trains were running from Landhi and eight local trains from Malir Cantonment to Karachi. Eight to 10 bogies would run overloaded. About half a million people travelled daily.
It was when the road transport increased and made it easier for passengers to reach their destinations earlier and at cheaper rates in comparison to trains. Delay and often cancellation of trains made people go for overloaded buses.
Markets being flooded with motorcycles also reduced the number of passengers for local trains. With the high rate of corruption among officials and the decreased efficiency in their running also reduced their numbers.
Today, hardly any local trains run between Karachi and Malir Cantonment. The railway line from Malir Halt to Malir Cantonment has been grabbed by ‘intruders’.
There is no hope of revival even if a huge amount is spent on these two routes as road transport is cheaper and takes less time.
There is no guarantee that the huge amount of Rs427 billion would be utilised for the right purpose.
This will result in burying our nation in yet another debt of which there is no guarantee of recovery.
Any official who thinks that a train would be running every five minutes is truly dreaming.
RAEES AHMAD KHAN Jamshoro