- Shehbaz Sharif says his government will ask China to include Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) in CPEC projects
KARACHI: Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif, during his maiden visit to the provincial capital of Sindh as new chief executive of the country, Wednesday announced that his government will ask China to include Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) in CPEC projects.
Shehbaz issued directives for early completion of K-IV bulk water project, construction of all the roads of industrial areas of the city and financially support the provincial government in the procurement of buses for BRT projects.
“We all have to work hard for the development of all the four provinces to steer the nation out of poverty and unemployment.”
This he said while presiding over a meeting of the provincial cabinet to discuss and decide PSDP-related development projects and outstanding issues between the provincial and the federal governments. The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah along with his cabinet members, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Khawaja Izhar and Kanwar Naveed of MQM, Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Maryam Aurangzeb and Miftah Ismail of PML-N, Akram Durrani, Maulana Assad Mahmood of JUI-F. Chairman WAPDA, Chairman NDMA, a number of federal secretaries attended the meeting. At the outset of the meeting, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah welcoming the Prime Minister said that in 2015 then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had chaired a meeting in the CM House in 2015.
“Your this meeting with the participation of all the partners would prove to be beneficial for the people of Pakistan, particularly of Sindh. The chief minister, chairman P&D and provincial ministers briefed the prime minister about different projects and issues. K-IV Augmentation: The prime minister was told that the augmentation works of K-IV would cost Rs52.34 billion. The augmentation works include connectivity of the outlet of reservoirs being developed under the Greater Bulk Water Supply Scheme (phase-I 260 MIGD) to the main KWSB system in the city. Under other works Pipri system of 65 MIGD is being developed to improve water supply in District Malir, Korangi and Cantonment Areas. Water supply in District South, Central and Some Areas of District West is also being improved at 130 MIGD. The Hub System (65 MIGD)is also being upgraded to improve water supply in District West, North Karachi, Surjani, North Nazimabad & SITE Areas.
The chief minister requested the prime minister to finance Rs10 billion for K-IV augmentation works because the funds committed by donor agencies would flow in January 2023. At this the prime minister said that his government would support the Sindh government to complete augmentation works well in time. K-IV project: The prime minister was told that 260 MGD K-IV, Phase-I costing Rs.126.4 billion has been approved and being executed by WAPDA with federal government funding. The lining of Kalri Baghar Feeder Phase-I for improvement of KB Feeder System and extension of Kinjhar Lake to cost Rs.35.536 billion and Rs.75.564 billion respectively.
The chief minister requested that the prime minister direct NEPRA to approve tariff rates for K-IV. He also urged the PM to make all the required funds of K-IV available so that it could be completed in time. The prime minister vowed to provide all the required funds in time and directed the chairman WAPDA to start work on war footings to provide water to the city. Karachi Transformation Plan: The prime minister was told that KTP was announced in 2020 with an outlay of Rs1.17 billion for various projects in the areas of water supply, sewerage treatment management, internal roads and Mass transit in Karachi.
The share of provincial government is Rs686 billion whereas federal PSDP share is Rs487 billion, the chief minister said and added the total cost of public private partnership projects, at an advanced stage, was Rs176.9 billion and total viable gap fund/equity for the projects was Rs32 billion every year.
The chief minister requested the prime minister to issue necessary directives for issuance of sovereign guarantee/VGF for mega PPP projects and allocate Rs10 billion per year to finance provincial governments annual obligation of Rs32 billion.
At this the prime minister assured the chief minister that the federal government would support the Sindh government. SIDCL: The prime minister was told that Sindh Infrastructure Development Co. Limited (SIDCL) was a public sector development company established under the companies Act 2017 for execution of schemes by Federal Government in Karachi under the company 10 schemes of Rs.47.913 billion with an allocated of Rs.10.297 billion in PSDP 2021-2022 were in progress.
The chief minister requested the prime minister to abolish SIDCL and all its assets and schemes may be transferred to the Sindh government for execution. The prime minister asked the chief minister to send him a proposal so that necessary action could b e taken.
Karachi Circular Railway (KCR): The PM was told that in 2016 KCR project was included by 6th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) for its inclusion in CPEC projects. The KCR project was approved by ECNEC at a cost of Rs.207.546 billion in 2017 under CPEC funding. Now the project has been revised by ECNEC in 2022 for Rs.181 billion to be taken up under PPP mode. At this the prime minister said that under the PPP mode the project would be delayed.
He decided to include the project in CPEC projects. Hyderabad – Sukkur Motorway: The chief minister told the prime minister that the Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway project was approved by ECNEC in 2022 at a cost of Rs.165.7 billion under PPP. He added that the project envisaged construction of 306 km long, 6 lane wide, access controlled fenced motorway.
The scope of work includes one main bridge, 165 sub-ways, 123 cattle creeps, 30 kms service roads on either side, 10 service areas and 12 rest areas. The prime minister said that he would include the project in CPEC. Jamshoro – Sehwan Road: CM Murad Ali Shah said that Jamshoro-Sehwan Road project was approved in 2017 for Rs.14 billion. The Sindh government provided Rs7 billion in 2017 as its 50 percent share but the work has not been completed. At this the prime minister directed NHA to complete the project at the earliest. Cash Development Loans: The prime minister was told that total CDL outstanding as of 30th June 2021 against the Sindh government was Rs.28.162 billion.
Since 1973-74 Sindh has paid Rs.159.101 billion against an outstanding CDL of Rs.72.653 billion. The interest rate of CDL is 6.8 percent to 17.71 percent. The New RBOD loan (1994-20) was Rs.17.505 billion. Sindh Government approached Finance Division to exclude proposed debt service charges from 2011-2021 but it has differed only Rs.7 billion for next two years.
The chief minister requested the prime minister to write off loan amount of Rs.17.505 billion and interest payment of Rs.12.027 billion and refund of deductions already made. The prime minister asked the chief minister to file a proposed request with him so that action could be taken accordingly. Three hospitals:
The meeting was told that after devolution, in July 2011, the three Hospitals- Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center Karachi, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Karachi and National Institute of Child Health Karachi were transferred to the Sindh government. In 2011, some JPMC employees belonging to other provinces went to Sindh High Court on the plea that they want to go back to the Federation. In 2016, the Sindh High Court gave its decision against the devolution.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022