On Monday, the Senate Standing Committee on Railways was informed that the cost of upgrading Karachi to Peshawar Main Line-1 (ML-1) had increased to $9.8 billion from $6 billion.
The panel, which met under the chairmanship of Muhammad Qasim, was told that the deal, whether struck in RMB (Chinese currency) or dollars, would not matter.
The railway officials have stated that the Karachi Circular ML-1 Railway is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. They went on to say that the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club has been under the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction for approximately one year, and that its international bidding process will open on July 28.
The officials noted that the club has been under the railways’ control since June 2019 and has been generating income since then.
The golf club was established with the objective of providing recreational facilities to the Pakistan Railways (PR) employees. The club consisted of an 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, a clubhouse and housing accommodation for the railway’s lower staff.
In 2000, a decision was made to offer the club on commercial lines to the interested parties to finance, redesign, develop and manage its operations.
The dispute revolves around the land lease to M/s Mainland Husnain Pakistan by the PR, which was allegedly done in a non-transparent manner and in violation of settled principles to develop the Rs50 billion entity.
The railway chairman said that people who had possessed the club before 2019 were being audited. He said that a land of 100 acres was allotted for the club when its advertisement was placed, and later, its total covered area increased to 142 acres.
Providing details of the railway’s land, the PR officials told the committee that 9,291 acres of land were being used for agriculture, while 955 acres were leased for domestic purposes. The body was informed that 221 acres of land were given for commercial purposes, and 305 acres were being used for other purposes.