More than three-fourths of KCR route cleared, SC told

Updated February 12, 2020

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Apex court resumes suo motu hearing on Pakistan Railway's losses today. — AFP/File
Apex court resumes suo motu hearing on Pakistan Railway's losses today. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Railways (PR) on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that more than three-fourths route of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) had been cleared of encroachments.

A day ahead of the scheduled proceedings in a suo motu hearing related to the colossal losses sustained by the PR over the past five years, a report furnished by the railways ministry secretary stated that out of 43.12km with right of way of 50 feet on each side of the tract, 37.7km had been cleared and an area of 164,127 square yards retrieved.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed will resume the hearing on Wednesday (today) for which notices have already been issued to Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar.

The PR had requested the Sindh government for removal of the encroachments from the rest of the KCR route, the report said.

Apex court resumes suo motu hearing on PR losses today

The report stated that a number of directives, including regarding immediate revival of projects like the KCR and Main Railway Line, issued by the apex court on Jan 28 had been brought to the attention of the prime minister who directed that the court orders be complied with in coordination with the Sindh government and the authorities concerned.

Consequently, a meeting was held between Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Feb 3 to chalk out a course of action for the expeditious execution of the KCR project, the report said.

The clearance of encroachments on the route and alignment of the KCR project were to be carried out by the Sindh government and the chief minister had assured that this should be done at the earliest, the report said.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council had approved the KCR project in October 2017, it added.

The report recalled that the Sindh chief minister had requested the then prime minister in December 2016 for the inclusion of the KCR project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to provide sovereign guarantee for it to enhance comfort level of the foreign investors.

The then prime minister had approved the proposal to the extent of inclusion of the KCR project in the CPEC, the report said.

About the rehabilitation of the affected people, the report explained that the Chief Minister Committee on the Revival of KCR, which was headed by the Karachi commissioner, had also furnished a report for the resettlement of people affected by the project. The committee has ordered three different options, including cash compensation or construction of flats.

The report explained that the projects like KCR and ML-1 will enable efficient and low-cost transportation to the passengers in Karachi, including resolution of transport issues in the city.

This will enable the people to better exercise their fundamental right to movement as well as better realise the right to trade, business and commerce across the country while ensuring safety in travel.

About the business plan, the report suggested that 50 per cent locomotives needed to be replaced in addition to digitalisation of the entire system by inviting the private sector.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020