Existing network of railway tracks has become outdated


Jan 17 - 30, 2005



A new network of 'Karachi Circular Railway Tracks is being planned in order to have a comprehensive grip of cargo transportation in the entire Industrial and Commercial hub of the country. This plan is apart from the mass transit cell program for which local government has signed an agreement with American company.

Divisional Commercial Officer, Karachi Circle of Pakistan Railways said that existing network of railway tracks has become outdated which cannot meet the demand of industrial and commercial cargo transportation. Railway sources from Lahore said that new network is being planned with more stations and warehouses in the Industrial areas including SITE industrial area, Korangi Industrial Area, Landhi Industrial Area, Federal B. Industrial Area, North Karachi Industrial area and New Karachi Industrial Area. At present the city has single track system but Karachi requires a double track network with extended length and more space for cargo storage. Simultaneously, Thatta and Nooriabad Industrial areas would also be connected with the Karachi circular railway tracks. Five new railway stations have also been proposed in the new network first of all, a world class airport at the Karachi Airport which first would be linked with Drigh Road railway tracks later more routes to the southern and northern parts of Karachi would be developed. A senior railway officer said that the new plan for the railway tracks in Karachi has no match with the mass transit cell project. This plan is being prepared to have a comprehensive grip over cargo transportation in the entire city. We have to have a new and modern cargo transportation system in Karachi, which could meet the requirements of next 50 years. In the first phase, after the planning, the planner would need space for railway tracks in different parts of the Karachi so that the network could be extended time to time with required transportation system.

The state minister for railway has already announce connection of Karachi Airport with Pakistan Railways with a modern railway station at Jinnah International Terminal and renovation and extension to the Drigh Road railway station. At present cargo handing through heavy vehicular mode is causing a higher cost of cargo transportation and several other crisis including congested traffic flow and an ugly environmental problems. Another railway officer said that removing encroachments from existing railway tracks is a part plan for the new railway tracks. During 90s Nooriabad Industrial body had emphasized the then government to connect the 'Nooriabad Industrial Zone' at super highway with Karachi and other upcountry so that cargo transportation cost could be brought under control. In Nooriabad Industrial Zone there are two cement plants one Essa Cement and the other Dadabhoy Cement factory.



The plan of new railway track network will also have capacity of cargo and passenger transportation from Karachi to India via Khokhrapar. There also would be an emphasis of connecting two southern and eastern part of Karachi like New Karachi, North Karachi and Pipri with the railway tracks so that execution of further updating projects in the transportation sector could be easy.

The major problem planners are facing is to get new land for the project and get back the railway's land from the encroachers. Authorities would face further problems when Land Mafia would created their identical problem of law and order. Sindh government has planned to run a local train on a portion of already operative main railway line, contrary to the assurance given to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz about the revival of the Karachi Circular Railway operations by Jan 15. The provincial government had been planning to operate a local train service from Drigh Colony railway station to Mereweather Tower (City Station) instead of using the KCR infrastructure. Sindh transport minister and officials of the city and provincial transport departments held successive meetings of the Task Force, formed by the prime minister. The prime minister had directed the Task Force to prepare an action plan to revive the KCR service as soon as possible. The Sindh government, in a meeting of the Task Force, chaired by the State Minister for Railways, Ishaque Khakwani, on Nov 19, submitted the action plan apprising the meeting that the KCR operations would be revived by the said date, with an estimated cost of Rs6 billion. Besides Mr Khakwani, Sindh Transport Minister Adil Siddiqui and EDO (Transport) of the city government are the members of the Task Force formed by the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz with directives to revive the KCR operation as soon as possible. The official sources said that the revitalization of the KCR service needed funds, besides improvement in the entire network. They added that without upgrading the existing system, the circular railway could not be run, as most of its track had been encroached upon, and the railway line had been damaged at different places. It was impossible to revive the KCR operation on the existing tracks by Jan 15. The sources said that the KCR tracks were encroached upon with a mala fide intention by builders' mafia, who wanted the KCR project to be dropped, so that they could utilize the precious land for building high-rises. The Sindh government had hoodwinked the prime minister in the name of the revival of the KCR operation. The sources said that the purpose of the builders' mafia was being served intentionally or unintentionally due to the inordinate delay in the revival of the KCR operation.