CPEC, Railway project Ml-1

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Main Line-1 (ML-1) which is Pakistan’s first modern railway infrastructure project is in progress. Recently Chinese government has sent the financial layout of this project to  the Exim Bank of China for approval of a $6 billion loan. This happened  after resolving all technical, administrative and other issues. This further paved the way for launching civil work on this project within this year. Railways Federal Secretary / Railway Board Chairman Dr Habibur Rehman Gillani revealed that “ A finance committee comprising Chinese officials has sent the case related to $6 billion loan approval of the project to Exim Bank. Since the remaining $800 million will be provided by the government of Pakistan as equity, the total $6.8 billion will be spent on completion of the entire rail-related infrastructure, mainly the line, fencing, civil works etc,” . The project is part of  China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Dispelling all the ambiguities and  resolving various issues also shows the determination from both sides.  Earlier, the construction of ML-1 project in three phases had been approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council  in its meeting held in August last year. The actual cost of the project was initially $9bn, including equity amount of the government of Pakistan. But later, it was lessened gradually to $6.8bn. It is also revealed by the chairman that When the project will reach nearing completion, another project proposal regarding procurement of train sets / rolling stock etc would be prepared and approved separately. Once talk about the procedure after approval of loan from Exim bank, the project would be sent to respective Chinese ministries dealing with the railways and planning / development related matters. This whole process would take a couple of months, after which the ministry would be able to initiate the bidding / tendering process for execution of the project. This project includes upgradion of ML-1 from Karachi to Peshawar and Taxila to Havelian (1,872km), laying of new track with improved sub grade for 160km/per hour, rehabilitation and construction of bridges, provision of modern signalling and telecom systems, conversion of level crossings into underpasses/flyovers, fencing of track, establishment of dry port near Havelian and upgrade of Walton Training Academy (Lahore).

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