close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
February 12, 2020

PC asks officials to expedite China-backed railway project

Business

February 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Planning Commission on Tuesday asked officials to engage with Chinese counterparts to finalise terms and conditions of financing an estimated $8 billion worth of railways project (ML-1) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said Pakistan Railways should expedite the remaining work of third party review of Mainline-1 (ML-1) to get it approved at the earliest.

Umar further asked the financing committee constituted for the project to expedite its work and engage with the Chinese side to finalise terms and conditions of financing.

The minister was addressing a meeting to review the present status of preparation and processing of PC-I of the ML-I project and the Pakistan Railways’ strategic plan. Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Hussain, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, and secretaries planning and railway and senior officials participated in the meeting.

The railway line spans 1,872 kilometres dual track laid between Peshawar and Karachi under the CPEC framework.

The meeting was informed that the umbrella PC-1 of the project was under review in the Planning Commission. The commission is carrying out the required due diligence in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, considering the significance of the project as well as the scale of financing required for the project.

The Planning Committee constituted a financing committee to look into the modalities for implementation of the project with regards to the terms and conditions of the financing. The committee had already asked economic affairs division to advice the Chinese side of the government of Pakistan’s readiness for execution of the project under the CPEC.

“The government is keen to improve and upgrade the railway infrastructure in the country and ML-1 is the most important project in this regard,” planning minister Umar said in a statement. “Improvement of efficiency, freight services and providing quality traveling facilities to commuters is our objective.”

Umar emphasised the need for devising a holistic strategy for developing and upgrading infrastructure across the country and fill connectivity gaps for sustained national growth. The minister said the institutional and organisational reforms are inevitable for sustenance of railways and for its future operation and maintenance of the system.

“In this regard, the (ministry of) railway should implement reforms and improve the organisational structure to be able to handle a much bigger infrastructure,” he added. The Planning Commission arranged a consultative workshop on the project in the last week of January 2020.

The planning minister further said apart from ML-1, the Karachi Circular Railway is also an important project. “The government wants to finalise and implement both these projects.” Secretary railway expressed the desire and readiness of the ministry for executing both the projects at the earliest.