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January 14, 2021

KCR project

Newspost

 
January 14, 2021

This refers to the news report ‘KCR project to now be looked after by Pakistan Railways (Jan 9). It was good to see passenger trains rolling on its tracks again, even if only symbolically at present. But even this small step has been made possible because of the pressure from the Supreme Court. The report states that “initiated in 1964, the old KCR route started from Drigh Road and ended in downtown Karachi. After suffering losses for years, it ceased operations in 1999”. The report also added that earlier, due to the objections put forward by the railway minister, the project had been handed over to the Sindh government. Now, the decision has been reversed. The fact is that at its peak, the KCR ran over a hundred trains a day all over the city. There is no doubt that the KCR was deliberately run down to promote the business of private bus operators, in the same way as Pakistan Railways was ruined to create space for inter-city road transport for passengers and cargo.

The real potential of the KCR will be realised only when it is fully rehabilitated and expanded, which would require the clearance of tracks and the construction of overhead bridges and underpasses, and that would be possible only after encroachments have been removed. And as per the previous practice, the displaced families should be given alternate land and some cash. The compensation matters can be easily handled by the Sindh government. It is hoped that the project remains operational and is not buried under the sand.

SRH Hashmi

Karachi