ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Wednesday said the groundbreaking of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) would take place by next month.

Chairing a meeting to review the status of KCR and Railways Freight Corridor projects here, Asad Umar directed Pakistan Railways to fulfil all formalities at the earliest and ensure that all necessary arrangements for the groundbreaking of KCR infrastructure were made by September 2021.

During the meeting, the minister was briefed on KCR and informed that the KCR envisaged the construction of a 43km-long world-class affordable mass transit system using environment-friendly electric trains.

The secretary of railways informed that the KCR project was on track as per timeline given by the ministry. He said simultaneous work on Pakistan Peoples Party’s components of KCR would result in months of time saving and completion of the project.

The railways shall expedite the consultation with the Public Private Partnership Authority (P3A), he said.

They discussed Freight Corridor project from Keamari/KPT to Pipri Marshalling Yard which envisages construction/dualisation/upgrade of 50km dedicated freight corridor from Karachi Port to Pipri and included development of an inland container depot/marshalling yard at Pipri.

It was briefed that the project was expected to facilitate 40 per cent of the cargo meant to be transported upcountry. Further, the plan has been submitted to PPP Authority for its approval.

Mr Umar directed that the corridor must be designed to optimise the level-of-service outcome, and financial costs.

The destination time has to be reduced as well, he added.

Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, secretary of planning, secretary of railways, chief executive officer PPP Authority, and senior officials of both ministries participated in the meeting.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2021

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