ML-I railway project to increase transport share from 4pc to 20pc


ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa (retd) said that ML-I Railway Project at a cost of $7.2 billion would soon be completed under the CPEC and railway transport share would increase from four percent to 20 percent.

Saleem Bajwa expressed these views, while briefing Senate Special Committee on the Project of CPEC met with Senator Sherry Rehman in the chair at the Parliament House here on Monday.

Lieutenant General Bajwa (retd) said that the CPEC would revolutionise the construction and development in the country.

The ML-1 Railway Project would soon be completed and a network of highways will be laid. He said that the transmission system of the railways would be replaced under ML-1 Railway Project.

He said that that Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved the 7.2 billion ML-1 Railway Project, and railways transport share would increase from four percent to 20 percent after the completion of the project.

Pakistan gives high priority to the ML-1 Railway Project due to its strategic importance, and it will also pave the way for its inauguration by Chinese president in his upcoming visit to Pakistan.

The ML-I Railway Project includes dualization and upgrading of 1,872 km railway track from Peshawar to Karachi, and it’s a big milestone for the second phase of the CPEC.

The Pakistan Railways had proposed construction of the project at a cost of $9.2 billion. But the transport and communication wing of the Ministry of Planning did a commendable job by reducing the cost by $2 billion without disturbing the construction cost.

Bajwa said that railways engineers would be trained jointly with Russia, Germany and Britain.

The Orange Line train project will also be opened to the public soon, he said.

The Chairman CPEC Authority also informed the committee that work on the western route is under progress, and Rashakai Special Economic Zone (REZ) would be inaugurated soon.

The 1,000 acres Rashakai Special Economic Zone (REZ) is located near M-1 Nowshera and set to be established in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Bajwa said, “Applications are being received for investment in Faisalabad Special Economic Zone, while the Chinese have expressed their interest in Dhabeji Special Economic Zone. Additional land is being acquired for Hub Industrial Zone.”

He said that a large dry port would be set up at the site of Havelian, and economic zones would be established.

Replying to a question, the chairman CPEC Authority said that border fencing with Iran was being done and 100 km fence would be erected soon.

Answering another question, he said that Faisalabad and Dhabeji would also become special economic zones and Mansehra-Thakot Motorway would also be opened soon.

He said that work on Hoshab-Awaran Motorway would start soon, while Pakistan was also erecting fences on Iran border.

Answering a question of Committee Chairperson Sherry Rehman about the CPEC Authority, Bajwa and the secretary Planning said that there was no move to change the lead ministry’s role in the CPEC Authority, which was Planning.

The committee was briefed that 19 projects were completed, 28 were under implementation, and 41 were in the pipeline.

The CPEC chairman assured the committee that all projects would be completed on time within the stipulated and given timelines as they were finalised at the time of signing of agreements.

Committee Chairperson Sherry Rehman and other senators expressed satisfaction over the briefing of the chairman CPEC Authority, and said that the project was moving in the right direction.

Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by emphasizing the need for expediting work on the various projects related to power generation, agriculture, science and technology, and communication infrastructure.