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August 1, 2020

Senate panel to mull over Mandra-Chakwal rail line

National

August 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Railways is expected to discuss the possibility of revival of the much-talked about 100 years old Mandra-Chakwal Railway Line shortly.

Deputy Chairman Senate Salim Mandviwalla, who was presiding over the session Thursday, referred the matter to the house standing committee after it was raised in the Senate by PML-N Senator Abdul Qayyum.

“The Mandra-Chakwal railway line was constructed one century ago and had as many as 12 railway stations on it. Hundreds of kanals of its land has been encroached upon over the years and the track is either in a shambles or uprooted,” the legislator from Chakwal pointed out.

He explained that there were five cement factories in the district and about 2,000 cement-loaded trucks came out on roads and these were also being destroyed due to massive load and in the absence of a goods train service.

Talking to The News afterwards, Qayyum said he had met with Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad in September 2018 and he had assured him of a positive outcome.

Senator Qayyum said the revival of railway line was an urgent need for a large number of population including students, patients, business people and poor masses commuting on daily bases between Rawalpindi and Chakwal district.

“Many can hardly afford road transport fares in these tough financial times,” he pointed out. He said about 75km railway line was still intact but the land was being encroached upon rapidly.

The other issue he raised was of Dhrabi and Lakhwal dams built under the Punjab Small Dams Scheme. He noted that Dhrabi was built at the cost of Rs900 million and when it was ready for operation to irrigate 10,000 acres of land, it was found out that its siphon/design was faulty requiring another Rs900 million. He requested that Dhrabi and Lakhwal dams issue be looked into by the house standing committee on water and power.