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Karachi Circular Railway to be revived in two phases.

KARACHI, September 06, 2009 (Balochistan Times): Karachi Circular Railway, revival plan of which was approved by ECNEC last week, was constructed and opened for traffic in two phases in the year 1964 and 1970. It was originating from Drigh Road Station on main line and after crossing Shahrah-e-Faisal passes through populated areas of Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Johar, Liaquatabad, Nazimabad, SITE, Baldia, Lyari, Kharadar and finally touches Karachi City Station. Due to lack of investment in infrastructure, Rolling Stock etc. the operational efficiency was marginalized, causing increase of running time, lesser number of trains resulting in reduction of passengers and eventually KCR was closed for passenger traffic in December 1999. The Project Director KCR Ijaz Khilji, in an exclusive interview told that in order to plan an effective public transportation system in the city of Karachi, numerous studies were arranged but due to various reasons mainly lack of funds no project could be implemented. According to him Government of Pakistan decided to revive Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) in two phases as Modern Commuter System for the citizens of Karachi. It was also decided that KUTC (Karachi Urban Transport Corporation) will be formed with Ministry of Railways, Government of Sindh and City District Government Karachi as shareholders on basis of their Equity. In October 2005 Japan External Trade Organization (JETO) working under the aegis of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Government of Japan has carried out a Feasibility Study of KCR in close coordination with PR, GOS, CDGK and other related agencies / institutions. the Final Report (March 2006) recommended the Revival of KCR as a viable project for mitigating the commuter problems of the citizens of Karachi. The donor agency namely JICA sponsored a Final Study named SAPROF (Special Assistance for Project Formulation) for the project and the same would form the basis of negotiation of loan between the Govt. of Pakistan (GOP) and Govt. of Japan (GOJ). Ijaz Khilji said Karachi Urban Transport Corporation was incorporated on 8th May 2008 in SECP (Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan) as Public Limited (Not Listed) with nine Directors on Board four from Pakistan Railways, two from Govt of Sindh, two of City Dist. Govt. Karachi and one Director from Private Sector. Its authorized capital of Rs. 10 billion. He said KUTC will be the vehicle for the implementation of KCR project and will oversee the management of KCR. Project Director said on completion of the project an international operator of repute will be appointed for operations and maintenance of KCR on the pattern of successful role model of Singapore Mass Rail Transit (SMRT). Speaking about Project cost , he said, the donor agency namely JICA sponsored a Final Study named SAPROF (Special Assistance for Project Formation) for the project and the Final report received in April-09, with modified estimated cost from US$ 872.316 million to US$1558.8 million due to upgradation / additions given as hereunder: Route length of KCR is 43.12 Km, with elevated track increased to 22.49Km, about 4 km tunnel and 16.63km on ground 27 stations 14 on grade, 11 elevated and 2 in tunnel Price escalation on local and foreign components and Administration cost Cost of land acquisition, compensation for the squatters on the ROW of KCR Replacement of the level crossings with flyovers on PR Mainline (KCR ROW) Giving salient features, Ijaz Khilji said that Karachi Circular Railway(KCR) will be revived as a Modern Commuter System to meet the essential transportation need of the citizens of Karachi. The total route length of the dual tracks on the Karachi Circular Railway Project stage-I & stage-II is 43.12 K.m (Karachi City to Nipa - 22.4 K.m and Nipa to Karachi City Station & along mainline - 20.7 K.m) with 27 stations (14 on grade, 11 elevated and 2 in culvert). Stage-III [Drigh road - Jinnah Airport (6.1Km)] is it is self viable project and will be implemented after stabling initial operating period of 7 years for stage I & II. 290 trains per day will be operated at 6 minutes headway in each direction with carrying capacity of 942/1391 passengers/train, 18840/30602 passengers/hour and 0.69 million passengers/day. The stations will be provided with computerized ticketing, automated ticket gates, vending machines and elevators. The entire KCR will be provided with electric traction infrastructure and modernized signalling & telecommunication system. About funding, the Project Director said JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) will arrange 95.3% funding of project cost US$1558.8 million through Soft Term Loan at a mark-up of 0.2% payable in 40 years including 10 years grace period. As regards financial viability, he said the financial modelling of the Project has been carried out by the Infrastructure Project Development Fund [IPDF] Islamabad and as per their assessment It is a viable Project and will be able to repay the loan, meet with the depreciation cost from the revenues to be generated from the system [namely rail revenue and non-rail revenue] viz advertisements, rentals, real state development. In addition to the rail revenue globally commuter service are generating non-rail revenue. To a question, he listed social benefits as under: Separate accommodation for the ladies, improved punctuality in offices, reduction in fuel cost (Rs. 29.33 billion), reduction in waiting time, increased convenience for elderly and special persons, provision of road connections, Improved safety against disaster, saving of Foreign Exchange by minimum utilization of fuel, reduction of emission No2, Co2 (14,624 tons/year, reduction in noise, smoke and vibration, Increase of land value, reduction in waiting & travel time, improved punctuality in offices (Rs.5.07 billion, increase in regional income As regards Economic benefits, he pointed out these as decrease of accidents (Rs. 15. 68 million/per annum), reduction in travel time, reduction in the vehicle operating cost, increase in Average speed of bus, He said the project envisages new stations of Naval Halt [Kala Pul], Shaheed-e-Millat, NIPA , Jauhar More while Aladin Park and Yasinabad will e relocated stations. He said During Operation through Direct & Indirect employment about 20,000 job opportunities along the KCR route, in and around railway stations will be generated, while during Construction about 2,000 engineers of various disciplines skilled, semi skilled and unskilled labour will be engaged. He said the stations will have the facilities of Banks, Posts Offices, Book shops, Utility kiosks viz water, electricity, gas, utility bills, NADRA offices etc., Libraries - reading rooms, Restaurants and parking lots. He said the under feeder services, buses will be operated from & to KCR stations to facilitate passengers from and to KCR stations namely from Board office Nazimabad to North Karachi, Orangi station (Bara Maidan) to Bacha Khan Chowk Orangi & similarly from other destination/station. Ijaz Khilji said completion period of the project is 3 years and It is expected that loan agreement will be signed between Government of Japan and Government of Pakistan in December 2009, after the commencement of financial year of Japan in April 2009. He said work will be started in 2010 and the operation will be opened for public after 3 years (i.e 2013). About progress achieved so far, the Project Director informed that Evaluation of assets on KCR carried in the year 2005 (Rs. 5.462 bl i/c Rs. 4.382 bl for land), Karachi Urban Transport Corporation incorporated (08-05-08) with PR, GOS & CDGK as stakeholders, M/s. Scott Wilson Railways UK revalidated (August-08) JETRO report, JICA carried Final study (Nov-08 to Feb-09): Final report (May-09), modified cost to US$ 1.58bl Stage I & II & US$2.2bl i/c Airport Link due to upgradation & additions, environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Govt. of Sindh on 04-02-09, EPA approved EIA study report on 04-07-09, satellite imagery of KCR route by SUPARCO is under progress which is schedule to be completed at the mid of September 2009. He said resettlement Action Plan (RAP) study in progress scheduled to be completed in September-09, Focus Group Discussion Sessions (FGDs) and 6 major Public Consultation Meetings (PCMs) have been conducted and were largely attended by Project Affected Persons (PAPs), NGOs, Community Representatives. He said PC-I for modified cost US$ 1558.8 million (Rs. 128.6 Billion) approved on 03 September 09 by ECNEC, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Sindh is making arrangement for the allocation of 300 acres of land for PAPs.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 6, 2009
Words:1398
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