Justice Baqar directs transport dept to resolve KCR land issues for its approval in CPEC projects
KARACHI Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Justice Maqbool Baqar has directed the Transport & Mass Transit Authority to prepare a comprehensive presentation for Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) by removing all the bottlenecks so that it could be approved in the meeting the Chinese authorities have convened next month in Beijing. The transport issue of the city would be resolved when KCR, the BRTs, and their feeder projects are completed and enabled to supplement and complement each other, otherwise, the issue would remain unabated. He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting of the Transport & Mass Transit department to review the progress of their ongoing projects here at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Dr. Fakhre Alam, Chairman P&D Shakeel Mangejo, PSCM Agha Wasif, Secretary Transport Asad Zamin, and others. KCR: Secretary Transport Asad Zamin briefing the CM on KCR said that the project would cost around $2 billion. The KCR route connects high-density residential areas of Gulistan-e-johar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Nazimabad, and North Nazimabad with business districts of Karachi (Shahra-e-Faisal, I.I Chandigarh Road and Tower) and with the Site industrial area. KCR also has six- interchange points with other mass transit corridors of Karachi identified in the masterplan, which makes it essential for mobility, connectivity, and accessibility for residents of Karachi, Sindh. The KCR comprises of 30km loop line going across the city while it has a 13 km section along the Pakistan railway main line. The CM was told that there were some land issues with the railway authorities to clear the project. At this, the CM directed the chief secretary to hold a meeting with the Ministry of Railways and remove all the bottlenecks, if any, and clear the project so that it could be approved in the forthcoming meeting with Chinese authorities. BRTs: The CM was told that the BRT Green Line- funded by the federal government and the BRT Orange Line of the Sindh government were functional, apart from the Intra-district Peoples Bus Service in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, and Larkana was operational. Pink Bus Service, designated for women, Electrical Vehicles (EV) Buses are also operating in the city. Green Line: The CM was told that the BRT Green Line, a federal government-funded project, was a 20.9 km corridor. It would be handed over to the provincial government next year. It has a ridership of 55000 per day. The CM directed the transport department to prepare SOPs for the Green Line buses and keep them inspected so that their condition could be assessed at the time of taking over. To a question, the CM was told that the Green Line Corridor was supposed to be constructed up to Sabri Nihari Chwok, M.A Jinnah Road but it has been terminated at Numaish. The CM directed the Transport Department to take up the issue with the federal government and request them to complete it up to the Tower. Secretary Transport told the CM that the planning was underway to construct the under-construction BRT Red Line project up to the Tower. Orange Line: The CM was told that the Orange Line project was established by the Sindh government through its ADP scheme. The BRT Orange Line is a small project of 3 km with a ridership of 3000 passengers per day. At this, the CM directed the Transport department to study the prospect of making the Orange Line a big project by prolonging it to 10 to 15 km so that its ridership and utility could be enhanced. Red Line: The CM was told that the foreign-funded Red Line was a 24 km project and work on its corridor was in progress on war footings. The CM said that the construction work has created traffic jams on the University Road. He directed the Transport dept to make the side sideways of the university road wider so that traffic congestion could be resolved particularly at the peak hours. The CM directed Traffic police to make proper traffic management on the university road till the completion of the BRT Red Line.