Work on Karachi Circular Railway to begin next year
* 0.7 million commuters to benefit from the project
KARACHI: Managing Director Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) Aijaz Hussain Khilji has said that there were no big hurdles regarding the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project; however, such mega projects take time, as several factors need thorough study and investigation before the initiation.
He said that the project is expected to kick off from June-July 2013 while he hoped that the task would be completed by May-June 2017. He said that rehabilitation of the affected people was his utmost priority, adding that all civic facilities would be provided to them so that their standard of life can be raised. He said that the extension of time period was due to the fact that his department was striving that more facilities could be given to the affected people.
He said that several surveys and studies have been conducted regarding the job at hand, which would eliminate the risk factor in the project while all possible angles have been covered. He said that a topographic survey was also performed on all concerned location while surveys through satellite were also being performed so that the dynamics of the locations can be studied.
He further said that all concerned parties including Government of Sindh, Karachi Municipal Corporation and other relevant authorities were cooperating immensely.
Sources in the KUTC told PPI that environment factor- among several other issues - was hindering the progress of the study as it was among several consideration factors for the department. They said that teams comprising of experts including geologists from Japan were engaged in studying the concerned locations at the moment while the finding would be beneficial for the project.
Answering a question regarding the heavily encroached locations in the path of the project, they said that the department was in direct contact with the affected people while all possible measures were being taken to rehabilitate them.
They said that by and large they received welcoming response from the people; however, few issues hither and thither were normality for such a massive project. They said that interaction with people was an important task so that their issues can be observed first-hand by the department.
They said sustainable development was the aim of KUTC so that the negative implications regarding the project can be reduced while studies and researches were in progress in this regard. Talking about the technical aspects sources said that according to their studies, 22 million trips were being taken place in Karachi every single day and was growing rapidly.
They said that approximately 0.7 million people could travel after the completion of the project; however, the project has been designed as such that if the demand increases than the number of passengers travelling could be doubled. Each train would carry roughly 1,400 passengers. They said that the KCR project has been designed to meet the growing needs of the metropolis.
They said that the total cost of the project would be $1.558 billion while 93.5 percent funding would be provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) while the remaining would be arranged by the department. They said that the agency would provide funding on only 0.2 percent mark-up, which was payable in 40 years.
They said that under the project 44-kilometre-long dedicated dual track would be laid and it would have 24 stations. They said that while the system was designed for 100 kilometers per hour speed, electric trains would be operating at an approximate speed of roughly 40km per hour thus completing the entire circular railway loop in around an hour.
They said that out of its route over 22 kilometers would be elevated and four kilometers would be in tunnels, while the remaining around 16 kilometers would be on road surface.
Talking about the power generation, they said that the entire system would require 120 Megawatts of electricity while an agreement was reached with Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), which would make KCR strategic consumer of the company; however, they added that a stand-by system would also be built for any emergency situation.
Chairman Railway Workers Union Manzoor Ahmed Razi said that all hurdles regarding the project must be eliminated as soon as possible so that the city of Karachi could enter into much awaited mass transit system, which was the requirement for the growing needs of a mega city such as Karachi. He questioned that if Delhi could have mass transit system, why cannot Karachi have a similar system in place.
Talking about the previous circular railway, he said that back in the 60s and 70s it was the preferred travelling mean for the passengers, as it was quick, cheap and comfortable at the same time. He said that the corruption deprived the poor from a valuable transportation mean now only a handful trains operate locally.
He further said that the affected people must also be taken care of properly while delay would only extend the completion date of the project. He demanded that the project be initiated immediately so that the miseries of Karachiites could be eliminated. ppi