Sindh CM meets Chinese delegation
The Chinese government authorities have assured the Sindh government that they would pursue Circular Railways, Keti Bandar, and other projects to officially include them in CPEC related projects.
A meeting was held between Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and a Chinese government delegation, led by Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Mr Nong Rong.
The chief minister told the delegation that at the request of his government Karachi Circular Railway was included in CPEC on December 3, 2016. The project was approved and included in the 6th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC). He added that the project was approved by ECNEC at a cost of $1.97 billion in October 2017.
He said that KCR had been part of all JCC and in all the meetings it was stated a feasible and viable project but there were major obstacles that needed to be removed. He added that they [obstacles] include the following:
CM Shah said that he has been requesting the federal government to resolve the issues, but the issues were still unaddressed. “In the 9th JCC meeting the KCR was again discussed and it was resolved that the Pakistan side will submit the financing request to the Chinese side,” he said, adding that it has yet to be submitted.
Talking about the current situation of the KCR, Shah said that the federal government included two projects in PSDP-2020-21. They were Rs1.85 billion organisation of train on existing KCR alignment and Revival of KCR Phase-II for Rs8.7 billion.
He added that he has included three projects in provincial ADP 2020-21. They include revival of KCR (CPEC framework) for Rs207.5 billion, construction of boundary fencing along the KCR alignment for Rs2.3 million and construction of underpasses/flyovers on railway crossing along KCR route for RS5 billion and FWO has been engaged for construction.
Shah said that Keti Bandar is located about 107 kilometres 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 was an important part of the Sindh government strategy towards developing the energy sector.
He remarked that 4,000 acres of land has been identified for the project and a feasibility study has been completed for the installation of a 1320 MW power plant along with a railway line, coal jetty, and allied infrastructures. He added that the financial viability assessment and bid management report have also been completed and the transaction advice report was being awaited.
The project was a part of the CPEC framework since 2017. Earlier, the project was referred to Joint Working Group 9 for consideration. “After completion of the studies, the project is now ready to be taken up in the main framework,” he said.
The other projects which came under discussion include Thar coal energy, infrastructure, special Economic Zone, Dhabeji, KCR, socio-economic development projects.
The Chinese delegation said that their first CPEC project of 660 MW Thar Coal power plants was functioning successfully and on this pattern, all the CPEC-related projects would be completed on a fast-track basis.