KARACHI: The government of Turkey will assist Pakistan in installing tram service at Karachi’s M.A. Jinnah Road and I.I. Chundrigar Road as Turkish Consul General Tolga Ucak on Thursday offered city Administrator Iftikhar Ali Shallwani his country’s support for the project.
In a meeting held at Karachi Metropolitan Corporation office here, Mr Shallwani expressed gratitude to the Turkish consul general for tendering the support to provide better transport facilities to the people of Karachi.
Turkish Consulate’s Eyyub Yildirim was also present.
The Turkish city of Istanbul is also known for tram service and Karachi could similarly benefit owing to the tram service on the pattern of Istanbul.
Administrator Shallwani said that keeping in view the need to bring in cheaper and faster transport system, the Turkish diplomat and he agreed to introduce the tram service at Karachi’s two busiest arteries M.A. Jinnah Road and I.I. Chundrigar Road.
He said that further development would be done after more consultation.
Meeting told work on KCR being carried out ‘on fast pace’
Uplifting of libraries
The Turkish consul general also offered their support for uplifting of libraries in Karachi and said his government was ready to fully cooperate in this regard.
Earlier, the administrator welcomed Mr Ucak and both discussed matters of mutual interest. The consul general also congratulated Shallwani on taking charge as administrator of Karachi.
“Turkey is our brother Islamic country and both the countries have exemplary relations,” Shallwani said.
He also thanked Mr Ucak for tendering the support for tram service and uplifting of libraries in the city.
The administrator said that the Supreme Court had already passed directives to run tram service in Karachi, adding that historical reputation of the city would be restored after operating of tram service.
He said that efforts were being made to make Karachi a centre for tourists like Istanbul and the cooperation of Turkish government in this regard was highly commendable.
“Turkey has always helped Pakistan in difficult times and Pakistani people highly regard relations with Turkey. Karachi is [the] heart of Pakistan and the country’s development lies in the city’s uplift. Cooperation of Turkey and other developed countries in projects of Karachi would surely bear fruitful results,” he added.
Revival of KCR
Meanwhile, a meeting held with Commissioner Karachi Sohail Rajput in the chair reviewed the efforts being made for the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s order.
The meeting was attended among others by the municipal commissioner of KMC Dr Saifur Rehman, all deputy commissioners/district administrators, municipal commissioners of DMCs, project director of KCR Amir M. Daudpota, senior officials of KWSB, Karachi Urban Transport Corporation and cantonment boards.
The commissioner asked the Pakistan Railways to expedite the work on the revival of 44-kilometer long KCR in pursuance of the Supreme Court orders on priority basis so it could be completed on time in accordance with the orders of the apex court.
The KCR project director briefed the meeting about the progress of the work initiated by the Pakistan Railways.
He told the meeting that Pakistan Railways had started work on the revival of KCR comprising its loop portion (30km) and mainline portion (14km). He said the revival work would be carried out in three portions for the purpose of execution strategy.
The project director further informed the meeting that in the first portion, track-laying and restoration of stations would be completed up to Orangi Railway Station and in the second portion, it would be completed from Orangi to Gilani Station and in the third portion, the work would be undertaken from Urdu College to COD.
He said after the first phase of its restoration was completed, the KCR track would be doubled and upgraded to the level of ML-1 standard in second phase.
While in third phase, KCR will be converted to Modern Urban Railway on public private partnership mode, he added.
The project director told the meeting that the work of laying of 14km track from Karachi City to Orangi was being carried out on fast pace and hopefully would be completed in the next month.
It was informed that the issue of damaged infrastructure of sewerage at Urdu College towards Depot Station was also brought in the knowledge of the commissioner.
The KWSB assured the commissioner that the issue would be resolved for which steps have already been initiated.
The commissioner also directed all the DCs to examine the billboards installed at private properties and remove them if found to be dangerous for the public and ensure that no billboards or advertisement materials are installed on public properties in the city.
Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2020