Simple solutions neglected in KCR revival

Karachi: The revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) has been in limbo for decades because the government policymakers want to uproot the available infrastructure and replace it by a modern system with hefty foreign loans and technology. These types of costly and cumbersome solutions are favorite tools of bureaucracy to make things complicated and expensive. However, there is a simple and cost effective solution: To repair the available single track of KCR, run local trains on it and expend the upgrade the system when funds and resources are available.

In needs a lot of money, machinery and manpower, if the government wants to upgrade the KCR, but it just needs only six months and affordable funds if the government wants to make the KCR workable on existing single track and run local trains on it. The bureaucracy is confusing revival with up gradation, which are two totally different things. The upgrading of KCR should be a long-term dream, but what the Karachi commuters need just revival of the KCR on the same single track, which same local trains that used to ply on these tracks two decades back.

Inner sources say the bureaucrats fully know that ‘revival’ or running KCR is not a complicated matter. The track is there, signal system is there and local railway stations are there. All it needs there repair, posting of staff and arrangement of locomotives and rolling stock. These things could be easily done by the railway engineers, technicians and workers within six months or even earlier and KCR trains could re-run on these tracks without any costly expenditures or foreign loans for buying obsolete railway technology from the borrowing countries.

The lender countries are running very fast trains in their countries using latest technology and the technology they are offering for KCR revival is rather old if the standards of these countries are considered. It is their smartness that they are selling their obsolete technologies to the developing countries like Pakistan. They said if the Pakistan government really wants to upgrade the KCR then it should negotiate for a modern underground metro rail system for Karachi.

The sources said that it is not feasible for the bureaucracy to run KCR using own available resources as higher stakes are often involved in the foreign-funded costly projects. They said if the government seriously considers the issue of the revival of the KCR and decided whether it wants to rerun the KCR trains or upgrade KCR system the things would go simpler and easily doable. The Karachi commuters do deserve modern railway systems, but presently they direly need local trains plying on the KCR loop.

Chairman Pakistan Railway Labour Union Manzoor Razi when contacted confirmed that a single track is still intact on the KCR loop and it along with other technical accessories could be repaired within six months by the workers of Pakistan Railways, if the government is ready for it. He said it would be a great achievement of Karachi if its old local trains ply again on the KCR loop. He suggested that in the first stage local trains should be run on the available single track by making KCR operational and in the next stages the system could be upgraded, gradually, which he said is a realist and workable approach. He said we should not overlook simple solutions and give a chance to Pakistan Railway men to make the KCR operational with their indigenous resources and expertise.

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