Centre, Sindh claim control over Rs300bn KCR

Updated 08 Sep 2020

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The Sindh government shows the KCR project in its portfolio of Rs802bn as part of the KTP and includes Rs50.8bn as its share and the remaining Rs249.2bn as Chinese loan.
The Sindh government shows the KCR project in its portfolio of Rs802bn as part of the KTP and includes Rs50.8bn as its share and the remaining Rs249.2bn as Chinese loan.

ISLAMABAD: Both the federal and Sindh governments are fighting over the ownership of Rs300 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and claiming its cost in their share of investment under the Rs1.1 trillion Karachi Transformation Project (KTP) announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Planning Commission (PC) said on Monday that the federal government had committed projects with additional cost of Rs736bn under the KTP and would seek diversion of Rs125bn expected from the Bahria Town settlement fund to finance it.

The commission also released details of five projects, including the Rs300bn KCR.

Separately, the Sindh government shows the KCR project in its portfolio of Rs802bn as part of the KTP and includes Rs50.8bn as its share and the remaining Rs249.2bn as Chinese loan.

A simple arithmetic would thus put the total amount at Rs1.538tr on the basis of federal and provincial claims which actually comes down to Rs1.238tr if the KCR amount is counted only once. An official said some storm water- and nullah-related projects were also double counted in the portfolios of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Sindh government.

Read: Centre, Sindh spar over contribution to Karachi package

The PC also projects additional funding of Rs46bn required for Greater Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV), Rs131bn for Railway Freight Corridor, Rs5bn for Green Line BRT and Rs254bn for an umbrella project called “Rehabilitation of rivers, nullahs and storm water drains and resettlement of affected people”.

Planning Commission says KCR among projects that federal govt committed to funding

PC officials said the Rs254bn umbrella project would be implemented by the NDMA and its details were not yet available with the commission.

Interestingly, details of the funding released by the PC also do not match. “The total cost of these projects is estimated at Rs736bn,” the PC said, adding that the government planned to request the Supreme Court to allow it to use part of the Bahria Town settlement fund (up to Rs125bn) expected to be available during the three-year period of the KTP.

Hence the funding estimated to be arranged by the federal government is Rs611bn. The balance Rs375bn (out of the total package of more than Rs1,100bn) is shown as provincial government’s responsibility.

The Planning Commission said that during meetings on KTP finalisation, the provincial government expressed a desire to take responsibility for the KCR project. However, the Centre held that railway was a federal subject as per Part-II of Schedule-IV of the Constitution.

Importantly, the Supreme Court had also conducted hearings with regard to the KCR and directed the federal government/railways to undertake the project. “The federal government is, therefore, duty bound to implement this project,” the PC said, adding that the execution responsibility and the financial burden of Rs300bn had been included in federal government’s responsibility under the Karachi package.

Read: Why does the KCR need to cost so much anyway?

The PC reiterated that the federal government was looking at working in collaboration with the provincial government for development of Karachi. The real objective is to help the citizens of Karachi and not an effort to score political points. It said the Minister for Planning had presided over a meeting on implementation of the federal component of the KTP. Secretaries and senior officers of the ministries of planning, railways and water resources and the NDMA attended the meeting.

The planning minister asked the officials concerned to prepare time-bound action plans for execution of their respective projects and identify whether any approvals or NOCs were required from the provincial government.

The meeting also directed the implementing agencies to indicate their quarter-wise financial requirements so that the funding could be earmarked accordingly as these projects would be executed at a fast pace as directed by the prime minister.

Separately, the Sindh government is also putting its share of the KTP at Rs800bn, including Rs163bn worth of eight projects in sewerage treatment and disposal, Rs4.7bn worth of two umbrella projects for storm water drains, resettlements and roads, Rs62bn for four road projects, Rs15bn worth of four projects of solid waste management and Rs447bn worth of six mass transit schemes.

The mass transit schemes of Sindh portfolio include Rs300bn KCF, Rs78bn Redline BRT, Rs61bn Yellow Line BRT, Rs2.4bn BRT Orange Line and Rs5bn underpasses and flyovers on railway cross along the KCR.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020