KARACHI, May 11 (APP): The Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) has finally come to exietence after its registration with the Security Exchange Commission.
The Corporation is being headed by Mrs Nasrin Haq, a senior railway officer and an expert in railway operation.
The Corporation will be responsible for the implementation of long awaited project of revival of Karachi Circular Railway as a part of Karachi’s Mass Transit program.
The 9-member Board of Directors will include four officials from Pakistan Railway viz General Manager Operation, AGM Infrastructure, DS Railway Karachi and Managing Director KUTC, two members from Government of Sindh viz Chief Secretary and Secretary Transport, two members from City District Government viz Nazim Karachi and Director General Mass Transit.
The Board will have one member from the private sector whose induction will be decided in the first meeting of the Board of Directors which is expected to be held within two weeks.
The Managing Director KUTC, Mrs Nasrin Haq told APP in an interview that in view of tremendous population growth in Karachi from 3 lac to 16 million at present, growth in import and export activities, growth in traffic at 7.2 percent per anum, disproportionate growth of vehicular traffic at 17 percent per annum whihc is causing congestion and accidents, the only solution lay in the rail-based Mass Transit System.
She pointed out that innumerable feasibility studies for Masst Transit was carried out in the past but with no concrete implementation as yet.
The present government, she said, has placed the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) as a priority project to relieve the relieve the transport problems of citizens of Karachi.
MD KUTC said the initial proposal is to revive KCR as it has a cutting edge over other mass transit systems due to, what he described, availability of right of way, availability of infrastructure, no relocation of utility services, minor traffic diversions, main arterial roads intersecting KCR, besides location of stations being at 5-10 minute walking time from work places and house-hold units.
She pointed out that six corridors as planned by City District Government Karachi also intersect and interface the KCR and, as such, KCR revival would prove as an efficient socio-economic platform for economic growth and would alleviate environmental stress.
Nasrin Haq explained that KCR passes through major populated areas with KCR loop connecting Karachi City to Drigh Road - connecting Wazir Mansion, Lyari, SITE, Nazimabad, Manghopir, Liaquatabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal and finally joining the main line at Drigh Road station.
She said that Japan has agreed to provide a loan of 872 million US dollars at a mark up of just 0.2 percent payable in 40 years for the Project.
MD KUTC recalled that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry had commissioned a study on KCR revival as a modern commuter system under the aegis of JETRO.
The study was commenced in October 2005and the report was furnished in March 2006 recommending KCR revival as a viable project.
The project, she said, envisages dualization of 30 Km abondoned KCR loop with modern signalling system and grade separation at a cost of 536 million US dollars, provision of two dedicated tracks along the main line from Karachi city to Drigh Road Station (14.5 Km) at a cost of 179.464 million US dollars and Link to airport (6 Km) at a cost of 156 million US dollars.
She said that under the revived KCR system, the trains will be operated at 6 minutes interval in either direction at a speed of 100 Km/hour and the carrying capacity will be 1276 passenrs per train and 689,000 per day.
She pointed out that all the existing level crossings will be replaced by underpasses/flyovers, the stations will be provided with computerised ticketing, automated ticket gates, vending machines and elevators.
MD KUTC informed that railway stations will be provided in the close proximity of all the intersections of proposed KMTP Corridors and arterial road with KCR so as to facilitate inter-change of commuters from KMTP Corridors/Road transport to train and vice-versa.
She reiterated that the project would be carried out 100 percent through Japanese loan payable in 40 years with 10 years grace period.
She said that Karachi Urban Transport Corporation will be the executing agency and the system will be entirely laid by Japanese experts who would also provide the rolling stock, tracks and other parafernalia.
To a question present status of the project, Nasrin Haq said that Expression of Interest have been called for Environmental Impact Assessment study while terms of reference for Special Assistance for Project Formulation (SAPROF) study has been signed and would be completed by the end of the year.