Friday, October 25, 2013

ICI and Philips supporting initiative to revitalize Cantonment Railway Station

Two private companies ICI and Philips are providing support to Pursukoon Karachi, a non-governmental organization working on restoration and revitalization of the 115-year-old building of the Karachi Cantonment Railway Station.

“We want to revitalise the Karachi Cantt Station, not just clean it up,” said Noorjehan Bilgrami of Pursukoon Karachi.

The first phase of the project comprise of cleaning and repainting the building, which will take a year to complete and will include restoration of the historic building, seating for commuters and porters, refurbishment of washrooms, platforms, waiting rooms, construction of a fountain and a food street named ‘Ta’aam-e-Aam, Ta’aam-e-Khas’.

It is worth mentioning that Karachi Cantonment Railway Station is the busiest railway station of Pakistan and frequently used by not just visitors from across the country but also foreigners and overseas Pakistanis using Karachi Airport as a base for transit. Almost all the budget hotels as well as 5 star hotels (including Marriott) are built near the railway station for the same purpose and providing the administration with millions in revenues every year. But despite its special status, no serious efforts have been made by the Pakistan Railways to fix the station which even look worst than other railway stations based in secondary cities of Pakistan.

Pursukoon Karachi also says that they will not just restore the old building but will also revitalize this historic heritage by soon organizing a cultural festival at the Cantt station where National Academy of Performing Arts and Arts Council will feature musical performances, display of crafts and food stalls.

“We’ve also put together a couple of short films, including Umeed ka Safar, Bandar Road sey Keamari and Tabdeeli, which will be screened as part of the festival" says Pursukoon Karachi.

Pakistan Railways Karachi divisional commercial officer Muhammad Shoaib Adil said that they are only providing labourers and workforce for the project as they are short on funds. “We are trying our best to facilitate the NGO in the project. A divisional committee under the supervision of the railway divisional superintendent will coordinate with the organisation and will help solve problems they may encounter during the project,” said Adil, while appreciating the task undertaken by Pursukoon Karachi.


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