Karachi: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has directed the Sindh government to get lands reserved for the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway vacated from encroachers so that all hindrances in the execution of the vital project for public transport could be removed before signing an agreement with Japan, it was learnt by The News on Thursday.
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat sent a letter dated 29th May to the provincial government to direct the senior member of the Board of Revenue Sindh and other authorities concerned to take concerted efforts for the removal of the same.
The issue of encroachments on the Railways land earmarked for the KCR project and other issues came under deliberations at a special meeting presided by the Prime Minister at the Prime Minister’s House on May 28.
The meeting reviewed the pace of the project and the pending issues. The meeting was attended by people’s representatives and all concerned secretaries of the federal government.
Informed sources said that the Secretary of Ministry of Railways had informed the meeting about the encroachments on the Railways land at Jumma Goth Station Yard as was reported to him by the divisional superintendent of the Pakistan Railways, Karachi.
During the meeting, the prime minister issued directions that “all impediments” in the early start of the KCR revival should be removed by all ministries or organisations, Government of Sindh and Railway authorities.
Gilani also desired that all deadlines to be met and the formalities required by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) authorities to be completed during the specified time.
The PM’s Secretariat in its letter to the Sindh government contended that any encroachments on 40 acres of the Railway land that was exclusively earmarked for the resettlement of the victims of the KCR project might prove detrimental to the project.
It added that such encroachment may become a major obstacle during negotiations with the Japanese authorities and especially in the signing of loan agreement expected in the near future.
The PM asked the Board of Revenue of Sindh, Karachi district administration and other local revenue authorities to be “sensitised” on the significance of the KCR project.
“Immediate and stringent efforts be made that the land under encroachment is cleared and all encroachers are evicted immediately under intimation to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat,” according to the letter whose copy was obtained by The News.
The KCR, worth 1.55 billion dollars, would be completed with financial assistance of JICA.
Meanwhile, a recent meeting chaired by Governor Sindh Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad was informed the work on the KCR project would hopefully start before June 2013.
The authorities considered the revival of the KCR imperative to the transport system.
The KCR would be linked with mass transit system and all areas of the city. The KCR would provide all modern facilities while its stations would work as civic centres to provide other facilities to the citizens.
Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, in the last session of the Sindh Assembly, stated that the KCR project would be completed by the end of 2016.
He told the legislators that the project was delayed on account of debt issues raised by federal Ministry of Finance, removal of encroachments and allocation of land for resettlement. These issues have now been settled. The KCR will have a 43.12km track with 24 stations at an average distance of 1.5km. The track will be 22.86km elevated and 3.93km tunneled.