Govt reverses ECC’s decision to hand over KCR to Sindh govt

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The federal government on Saturday announced it is taking back the Economic Coordination Committee’s decision of handing over the Karachi Circular Railway Project to the Sindh government. The decision was reversed on the recommendation of the secretary of the Cabinet Division. Therefore, all upgradation and operation work of the Rs739 billion project has been assigned to the Ministry of Railways. Earlier, due to objections put forth by the ministry, the project had been handed over to the Sindh government. In a parallel development, approval to include MQM Pakistan’s JavedHanif in the Karachi Transformation Plan Committee was accorded. The project faced several setbacks before it became partially operational back in November. In February 2020, a three-member bench headed by CJP Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had directed Pakistan Railways and Sindh government to remove all encroachments from the lands meant for the long-delayed circular railway system in the metropolis within six months. Then, on November 10, the court issued a contempt notice to both over failure to revive KCR. The bench directed Sindh chief secretary, railways secretary, and the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) director-general to appear in person and brief the court on why the project is still not operational. “We will call everyone. If need be, even the premier and chief minister will be called,” observed the top judge. On November 19, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed inaugurated the much-awaited project at the City Station in Karachi.