ISLAMABAD: China will now cooperate with the Sindh government to help it revive the long-delayed Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) within three years under a recently signed memorandum of understanding, the Senateâ€™s Standing ComÂmittee on Planning and Development was informed on Monday.
Briefing the committee, Planning Secretary Shoaib Siddiqui said the Rs270 billion project was to be completed with the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), but due to its long schedule the government decided to include the project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
He said around 550,000 commuters were expected to travel through the KCR daily. The 43-kilometre-long railway line will go through Landhi, Wazir Mansion, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, COD, Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Orangi Town and Chanesar Goth. The route will have 24 stations.
The Sindh government and JICA started looking into the possibility of collaborating to revive the KCR about seven years ago, but the project is still in limbo.
The chairman of the Senate committee, Tahir Mashhadi, welcomed the decision and said Karachi was the fourth-largest city of the world, but a major segment of the population was deprived of effective and affordable transport facility.
The committee was also briefed that the process to award contract for transmission lines has been initiated under the CASA-1000 power project. Under the project, 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power generated by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be transported to Pakistan via Afghanistan.
However, the members expressed concern over the transit lines going through Afghanistan. â€œHow can anybody be sure when peace will return to Afghanistan?â€ Senator Sherry Rehman wondered. â€œThe future of this project is directly linked with law and order situation there.â€
Senator Saifullah Magsi feared power supply to Pakistan would suffer in case terrorists strike transmission lines in Afghanistan.
An official of the Sindh government informed the committee that a power park would be set up at Keti Bandar with the support of the Chinese government.