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Lahore

May 19, 2017

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Rs1,000b pact with China big breakthrough for railways: Saad

Rs1,000b pact with China big breakthrough for railways: Saad

Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Thursday that the framework agreement for investment of Rs 1,000 billion on upgrade of PR Main-Line (ML-1) signed with China was a big breakthrough for the railways. 

Addressing a press conference at the PR headquarters, the minister said these funds would be spent on upgrade of Peshawar to Karachi track, PR Walton Academy Lahore, and upgrade of Havelian Container Terminal.

He said this investment would transform the railways, and the people of Pakistan would see a new railways in near future.

The minister said under this agreement, the ML-1 track would be upgraded for speed of 160 km/hour, double track would be laid, fencing would be installed in populated areas along the track, automatic modern signalling system would be introduced for accident-free travelling, new locomotives of 160 km/hour speed would become part of the railways.

He said that work on this project would be started in the current year while a project management consultant (PMC) would be appointed to monitor the project and its progress.

"We did not accept Chinese as the PMC and an impartial consultant would be appointed after international and transparent bidding," he added.

He thanked Pakistan Army and its organisation, Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and said all institutions are working with the PR and the engineers of the Pak Army Signals Department had developed a modern signalling system for level crossings.

The minister said the Railways earned Rs 36 billion in the previous year, and it is expected to earn Rs 41 billion this year.

He said the PR was working with provinces for mass transit projects in provincial capitals and work on restoration of Karachi Circular Railways was in progress.

"Peshawar Mass Transit Railways was also under consideration and the federal government is working with the provincial governments on it," he added.

The minister said the world was changing, and China was playing a leading role in it.  "CPEC is flagship project of the OBOR," he said, adding "critics should visit China to see what is development and how the country is building roads and communication networks.

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