KARACHI: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Monday assured interim Chief Minister retired Justice Maqbool Baqar that the federal government would resolve issues facing the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), including the project’s sovereign guarantee, as well as the K-IV project.

At a meeting with the CM at the PM House in Islamabad, he said the KCR’s sovereign guarantee and other issues would be resolved for the launch of the project, said a statement issued from the CM House.

Mr Baqar told Mr Kakar that the federal government needed to provide a sovereign guarantee for the KCR project loan, showcasing strong commitment at the national level.

“The sovereign guarantee adds a layer of financial security and assurance for investors and stakeholders involved in the project,” the CM said and requested the prime minister that the federal government might sign a framework agreement so that the project could move ahead under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Justice Baqar also requested the prime minister to direct Pakistan Railways to hand over land along the right of way (RoW) for the KCR, which was critical for the success of the project.

Caretaker PM promises all-out support for K-IV, Red Line and Malir Expressway projects

The statement said that the chief minister in his meeting with the prime minister was assured that the federal government would resolve the issues of the provincial government’s important development projects.

The CM informed the PM that the delay in issuance of NOCs/permission from the federal government posed major obstacles in carrying forward the construction activities.

The statement said the CM discussed with the PM five important development projects – KCR, Malir Expressway, Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply, better known as K-IV project, and BRT Red Line – and urged the PM to issue necessary directives to remove obstacles for their timely completion and launch.

It said Justice Baqar apprised the prime minister about the impediments that emerged in the five projects, which could be removed with his interventions. “The PM’s response was not only positive, but quite supportive and helpful,” the statement quoted the CM as saying.

The CM said the PC-1 with respect to the Karachi BRT Redline project was cleared by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on April 15, 2019, and approved by Ecnec on Aug 29, 2019, at the cost of Rs78,384.33 million ($503.21 million).

The CM requested the prime minister to advise Ecnec/ the Planning Commission for the earliest issuance of an anticipatory approval. It would allow TransKarachi to cover the losses, reinstate the work at the site and subsequently, complete the project on time.

The caretaker CM requested the PM to direct the concerned ministry to allocate an additional amount of at least Rs24.5 billion towards the K-IV project during the current financial year (2023-24), facilitating the plan to be completed within the time prescribed.

Briefing the PM about the K-IV project, Justice Baqar said the dilapidated infrastructure and a weak distribution system had resulted in widening the gap between the supply and consumption of water, which was bound to pile miseries on people.

He said the revised PC-I had already been approved by Ecnec in 2022 for Rs126,404.751 million. “Originally scheduled to be completed by March 2023, the project has been delayed for multiple reasons and is now planned to be completed by October 2024,” the CM said.

The CM told the prime minister that work on the Malir Expressway was in full swing, but some NOCs / permissions from the federal ministries posed major obstacles in carrying forward the construction activities and the commercial banks — the lenders on the project — had made those NOCs a condition for moving forward with disbursements. “If these NOCs are not arranged by Nov 15, 2023, the lenders/banks would stop further disbursements,” the CM said.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2023

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