Chinese government authorities have assured the Sindh government that they will pursue the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Keti Bandar and other projects to officially include them on the list of CPEC-related projects.
This came up on Tuesday during a meeting between Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and a Chinese government delegation led by Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong.
The chief minister told the delegation that at the request of his government, the KCR was included in the CPEC on 3 December 2016. The project was approved and entered on the agenda for the 6th meeting of the Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC), he said, adding that the project had been approved by Ecnec with cost of $ 1.97 billion in October 2017.
Shah said KCR has been a part of all JCC sessions because in all these meetings, KCR is called a viable and viable project, but there are big obstacles that need to be removed. He added that these obstacles include guarantees of sovereignty by the Finance Division, requests for soft finance to the Chinese government by the federal government, right of way for KCR in the common corridor between ML-1 and KCR.
CM said he had asked the federal government to resolve the issue, but it was still unresolved. “In the 9th JCC meeting, KCR was discussed again and it was decided that the Pakistan side would submit a request for financing from the Chinese side,” he said, adding that it had not been submitted.
He noted that the federal government has included two projects in the PSDP-2020-21. It was the Rs1.85 billion rail service organization on the existing KCR lines and the Rs8.7 billion KCR Phase-II revival. He added that his party had included three projects in the 2020-21 provincial ADP. They revived a KCR (CPEC framework) of Rs207.5 billion, construction of a boundary fence along the KCR alignment of Rs2.3 billion and construction of underpasses at railroad crossings along the KCR route worth Rs5 billion, and FWO has been engaged to doing construction work for that matter.
The visiting high-power delegation assures the chief minister that they will tackle the KCR project at the next CPEC-related meeting.
Shah said Keti Bandar is located about 107 km from Thatta city and 150 km from Karachi via Gharo, which is very promising in terms of future prospects.
He added that the Keti Bandar project is an important part of the Sindh government’s strategy in developing the energy sector.
The chief minister said 4,000 hectares of land had been identified for the project and a feasibility study had been completed for the installation of a 1,320MW power plant along with a railway line, a coal pier and related infrastructure. He added that the financial feasibility assessment and the bid management report had also been completed and a transaction suggestion report was awaited.
He pointed out that the project had been part of the CPEC framework since 2017. Previously, the project had been referred to a Joint Working Group for consideration. “After the study is complete, now the project is ready to be taken in the main framework,” he said.
Other projects under discussion include Thar coal energy, infrastructure, Special Economic Zones, Dhabeji, KCR, socio-economic development projects. The Chinese delegation said their first CPEC project of the Thar Coal 660MW power plant was functioning successfully, and under this pattern all CPEC related projects will be completed on a fast track basis.