KARACHI: The Pakistan Railways needs more than Rs800 million to upgrade its 38 unmanned level crossings on railway tracks in Sindh, which under the defined rules, are due to be funded by provincial authorities, but the Pakistan Peoples Party government did not made any contribution in the past around five years, officials told a Senate committee on Wednesday.

The information came during a briefing by the PR officials to members of the Senate Standing Committee on Railways, who visited the City Station on the second consecutive day for a briefing on progress made so far made on different projects mainly in Sindh.

The committee, led by its chairman Senator Muhammad Qasim, held a detailed meeting with the railways senior officials who briefed the legislators about the progress, infrastructure development, issues of unmanned level crossings and progress on Karachi Circular Railway project.

The members are Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo, Senator Rana Mahmood Al Hassan, Senator Saifullah Sarwar Khan Niazi and Senator Dost Mohammad Khan.

The senators visit the KCR route from Orangi to City station

They were briefed by PR chief executive officer Nisar Ahmed Memon and others.

“There are a total of 400 unmanned level crossings across Sindh,” said a statement issued after the meeting. “Among them 162 unmanned level crossings are in Karachi division and the rest of 238 are in Sukkur division. Under a plan, the Sindh government had to provide funds for up-gradation of 44 such crossings. The plan had identified 17 unmanned level crossings in Karachi and 27 in Sukkur for up-gradation. It required a total of R565.37 million, but the Sindh government by 2016-17 had provided only Rs128.91 million in this account.”

Under the limited funds provided by the provincial government, only 14 unmanned level crossings in Karachi were upgraded while none of the Sukkur division could be upgraded, the statement added.

After identification of eight more unmanned level crossings, the PR now planned to upgrade a total of 38 unmanned level crossings and for this work it required a total of Rs832.3m, the senators were told.

Senators travel on KCR route

Earlier, the senators also visited the KCR route from Orangi Town to City Station.

Following test runs, the City Railway Station to Orangi Station track of the KCR was made operational and accessible to the public in February 2021. The lately rehabilitated track of 14 kilometres between Orangi and City Station entails six stations and 12 level crossings.

In the briefing at the City Station, they were informed that with two railway stations in Karachi, the PR was operating 54 train services catering to almost six million passengers every year.

“With eight platforms at City Station, 14 trains are offering service to some 900,00 passengers earning revenue of around Rs883.76 million. The same number of platforms at Cantt Station is offering services of 40 trains for five million passengers to earn more than a billion rupees revenue,” said the statement.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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