KARACHI: Government authorities and Japanese donor agency have kept silence over the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) as Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) has experienced a major change in it, putting question mark over the existence of the project.
Karachiites still hope against hope for the project that has been a ray of light in the shadow of pathetic public transportation system in the city. The situation of transportation system here is not a privy. People are compelled to climb over rooftops of minibuses, risking their lives or forcibly tuck their bodies with others in crowded old, rusty and unmaintained buses.
No advancement could be made on the project for months as Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) had not yet responded to the minutes of the high-level meetings held months back in Islamabad, in which JICA officials of Islamabad office physically participated and from Japan through video conference, a KUTC official told PPI on Monday on the condition of anonymity.
“Political situation, especially sit-ins, could be the reason of this unannounced delay,” he said.
The official told that former managing director KUTC, who had been extensively working on the project with the foreign agency in the country and Japan as well since the starting of the project, had been assigned a post in Islamabad under Pakistan Railways.
“It is a routine thing in the government affairs where posts of bureaucrats are usually changed from time to time,” he said.
Sindh government seems in a haste to provide relief to the citizens, or if there is some behind-the-scene agenda then it is unknown, as there had been reports previously that it was mulling to take initiative to start the project itself. Sindh government has 25 percent share in the project, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation 15 percent and federal government 65 percent.
The official said Sindh government had signed a MoU with a Chinese company over the project without taking KUTC, the company assigned the task to oversee the project, on board. So, KUTC had reported that to the federal government.
While the project seems to be a far cry, the encroachers of KCR track have filed petition in court against notice of removal of their living shelters. “Previously KUTC was considering to relocate the encroachers residing for decades, however now it has been decided that the settlers would be given money in compensation,” he said.
On the other hand, though no heed is recently being taken on the project but the ongoing renovation work in the KUTC office has been witnessed by this scribe.