Government to get land evacuated for $1.58 billion project

The federal government would complete all formalities to resettle thousands of families to be affected by the much waited $1.58 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project within a month. The draft report on the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) study of KCR project would be completed by January 15 next year. The Initial Environment Assessment (IEA) of Juma Goth, where the affected families would be shifted, would also be completed by the mid of January 2010.
According to sources, it was decided in a meeting held on December 18 in Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Islamabad, to review the implementation status of the long-awaited project. In the meeting it was also decided that for the resettlement of affectees, the dispute between Pakistan Railway (PR) and Malir Development Authority (MDA) over the proposed land at Juma Goth Site, was also likely to be settled amicably outside the court, they added.
Around 350 acre land, which belongs to PR, has been planned by Karachi Urban Transport System (KUTS) at Juma Goth, adjacent to Shah Latif Township on National Highway, to shift the land grabbers who had encroached the government land along KCR track, they added. They said government would spend at least Rs 4.45 billion o the infrastructure development at the location, as Rs 12.5 million per acre with cash compensation. According to the study, they said, 80sq.yd, plus cash Rs 100000 would be given to each affected family of the project.
Beside the resettlement plan, it was also informed in the meeting that Japan International Co-operation Agency’s (JICA) and KUTS were also working jointly on the electricity supply to the site. The meeting headed by Joint Secretary (ADBJapan), was also attended by chief representative of JICA, Managing Director, KUTS, Special Secretary P&D department, Director (Planning and Co-ordination) Karachi Mass Transit Cell (KMTC) of City District Government Karachi (CDGK).
It is worth mentioning here that, the project, according to a rough estimate, was to hit at least 15000 houses whose occupants are expected to be compensated in terms of resettlement and relocation. Besides, almost 70 percent of the area on either side of the KCR tracks was occupied by commercial plazas, multi-storied residential apartments, bungalows, institutional buildings, shopping centres, factories, warehouses and petrol pumps, while the remaining area on was occupied by low-income settlements and Katchi Abadis.
However, KUTS, the proponent of KCR project, in its recent progress report of Revival of KCR Project, claimed that the work of Preliminary public consultation meetings and information disclosure, demarcation survey, socio economic survey, satellite imagery, and allocation of land for resettlement sites has been completed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2009