The Pakistan Railways do not need to remove further settlements for the operation of the Karachi Circular Railways (KCR). Karachi Railways Divisional Superintendent (DS) Arshad Salam Khattak has told The News that they have got space for the operation of the circular train.

After a gap of few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pakistan Railways held a meeting regarding the revival of the KCR on Monday at the Pakistan Railway’s divisional superintendent office, Karachi.

According to a press statement from the Pakistan Railways, the meeting was chaired by Khattak. KCR Managing Director Ameer Mohammad Daudpota, Karachi Additional Commissioner Asadullah Khan, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board MD Asadullah, Sindh Transport and Mass Transit Department consultant Ashraf Lakho, NESPAK adviser Riaz ul Huda, SITE chief engineer Nabeel Ahmad, Sindh Police SP Dr Sumair and all deputy divisional superintendents of the Karachi division attended the meeting.

Representatives of all departments, Khattak said, shared in the meeting their progress regarding the revival of the KCR. “This was the first coordination meeting after the coronavirus lockdown,” he said. In the meeting, the press statement said, the progress in different areas of the revival of the KCR was extensively discussed by the representatives of the Pakistan Railways and the Sindh government.

The Pakistan Railways briefed the officials on the progress made so far for the revival of the circular railway and the implementation of the Supreme Court’s order. It also sought progress of different departments regarding the implementation of the apex court’s orders.

In order to streamline coordination, another meeting regarding the revival of the KCR has been scheduled for Wednesday (tomorrow) between the Sindh Transport Department and the Pakistan Railways. Another follow up meeting to report the progress was agreed to be held in the next fortnight.

The Pakistan Railways, Khattak said, shared how much money they had allocated phase-wise for the laying down of the railway track on the KCR’s route from their revenue. He said only the Pakistan Railways had the means to lay the track, as they had the required material.

The Sindh government, according to him, briefed them about the sewerage infrastructure at University Road, for which the Supreme Court has mandated them to relocate it.

According to the budget document, the Sindh government has allocated Rs230 million for the fencing along the existing alignment of the KCR. Additionally, Rs5 billion is estimated for the construction of the flyovers and the underpasses on the railway crossing along with the KCR that has June 2022 as its targeted date of completion.

Talking about this, Khattak said the Pakistan Railways would give its full support to the Sindh government in the fencing and construction of the underpasses and flyovers. “We have also handed over the required documents for the fencing of the KCR’s track to the Sindh government,” he said, adding that they would coordinate with each other in this regard.

The National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) is the lead and technical consultant of the KCR revival project while the AKHUND Forbes is the legal consultant. ProMag is also the technical consultant with expertise in the real estate, the China Railway Engineering Corporation is a technical sub-consultant and the Hang Law associates is the project’s legal sub-consultant. The KMPG is the financial consultant.

The KCR project is 12.63 kilometres at grade (on the ground), and 30.75 kilometres elevated with 24 railway stations out of which 14 will be elevated. The average distance between each station will be 1.8 kilometres.