ISLAMABAD: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed visited the Islamabad Carriage Factory to inspect the rehabilitation of coaches that will run on the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).
He announced a one grade promotion for Pakistan Railways workers before he leaves the ministry.
“I already promoted the workers after I joined the ministry, and I will promote them again before leaving,” he said.
Sheikh Rashid said that the KCR track is based on 44 kilometres, including a 30km loop and 14km mainline.
It has a total of 20 stations, of which 15 are on the loop and five are on the mainline, and there are 24 level crossings on the entire track.
He said the KCR project would be revived in three phases, with tracks being restored first from Karachi City to Orangi station, then from Orangi station to Gilani station and finally from Gilani station to Drug Colony.
Work on the first phase of the project is ongoing; Rs150 million has been allocated to repair nine stations and platforms and 15 level crossings, while tenders for Rs50m of electrical signal and telecommunications were issued this July.
A total of 10 locomotives and 40 coaches for the project have been handed over to the carriage factory to be repairs and renovated, he said.
Sheikh Rashid said Railways will upgrade the KCR project in the second phase after it is rehabilitated, which will cost Rs8.7 billion. After it is upgraded, the number of trains will be increased from 32 to 48, and passenger capacity will increase from 16,000 to 24,000.
The total duration of the journey will be reduced to 19 minutes from half an hour.
In the third phase, the project will be upgraded to a modern urban transit system under a public-private partnership.
During his visit, Sheikh Rashid also criticised the PML-N and claimed Prime Minister Imran Khan would dissolve the assemblies but would not give any relief to opposition members who want an end to corruption cases.
He said the PTI government will complete its five year tenure, adding that the entire nation was proud of the army and the people did not support the opposition.
“The opposition wanted to sabotage the Senate elections, as the PTI government will get the most seats in the Senate elections scheduled to be held in March next year,” he said.
He also lashed out at the Pakistan Democratic Movement, claiming the opposition alliance postponed its public meeting in Quetta because it learned how unpopular it was.
“The PML-N rally in Lahore a few days ago was a flop show and it proved our stance that the PML-N is not popular among the people as they refused to buy their stories,” he went on.
He said that the “PML-S” would part ways with the PML-N.
“I didn’t say PML-S belonged to Shehbaz Sharif and people will soon get the news by December that PML-N will divide in two parts,” he said.
He also posed three questions to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. He asked who moved the Supreme Court against former president Asif Ali Zardari in the Memogate scandal by wearing a black coat, whether Mr Sharif told the Foreign Office or any other institution about a “secret meeting” with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Khatmandu, and why Ms Nawaz’ Twitter account was silent for nearly a year and who gave her back her mobile phone in the National Accountability Bureau in Lahore.
He also criticised Maulana Fazlur Rehman and said his movement against the government would fail.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2020