Karachi - The federal and Sindh governments are once again at odds over the revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) as Federal Minister Railway Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed blamed the provincial government for dragging feet over executing the KCR project.

The federal minister’s claim, however, was rejected by Sindh Minister for Transport Awais Qadir Shah who accused the federal authorities of hindering the removal of encroachments from the proposed route of the project.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed on Sunday said that the delay is due to the provincial government. “As soon as the Sindh government approves design and feasibility of the project, we will cooperate with them in removal of encroachments,” he categorically announced. He was addressing a press conference after offering condolence to the father of late assistant railway driver Rashid in Railway Colony here in Karachi on Sunday.

Sh Rashid also handed over a cheque for Rs one million to the father of the deceased driver and assured that a plot would be allotted to the widow while his son would be provided job for the martyrs’ quota.

Currently 70m passengers travel on Railways, which will be increased to 100m

He assured the father of the deceased driver that he would stand alongside him at every stage of life.

Talking about Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Sh Rasheed claimed that if the KCR project is not executed in the tenure of this government, it can’t be constructed till the day of judgment.

He informed that they started three trains in Sindh and recently Jinnah Express in on the route. The minister claimed that currently 70 million passengers are travelling on Pakistan Railways, expressing his resolution to maximize it the number of passengers to 100 million.

Answering a question, he said that Modi is playing war game, just because of the elections in India, linking aborted bid to blow up railway track at Jung Shahi on Sunday and derail Fareed Express to this subversive mentality of the Modi-led government.

Speaking about ML-1, Sh Rasheed pledged that 150,000 people would get employment in this project. Explained the project, the federal minister informed that the current railway track was constructed way back in 1861 during the British rule, adding that it would be for the first time in the history of Pakistan that new railway track would be laid.

He also expressed his wish that salary of Railway Police should be equal to the Punjab and Islamabad police.

Responding to criticism of Sindh government, the provincial transport minister said that the provincial government is always ready to clear the KCR track from encroachments but the railway authorities on the orders of the minister are creating hindrance in the process.

He revealed that the project was included in the CPEC on the recommendations of the incumbent Sindh chief minister. “The federal government should work with the province in reviving the project rather than issuing mere statements,” he said.

Shah said that the province is ready to begin anti-encroachment drive on the KCR route but unfortunately, railways minister is not serious in it. “The federal minister should announce anti-encroachment drive on the route and he (PR minister) would found complete support of the provincial government in it,” he pledged.

He further blamed that some MQM-P leaders are also hindering transport up projects in the city. “Some of the MQM-P leaders do not want completion of the green line bus project,” he claimed.