ECNEC approves Pakistan Railways’ ML-1 Project worth $6.8bn

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ISLAMABAD: In a meeting chaired by the Adviser to the prime minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved to upgrade the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway track project and construction of a dry port near Havelian costing $6.8 billion.

The Karachi-Peshawar Line (ML-1) is a high priority project under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The project cost will be shared by the governments of China and Pakistan, informed the Ministry of Finance in a press release.

Both the governments are yet to finalize the financial terms and conditions of the project.

Around Rs672 billion, constituting about 59 per cent of the total cost will be utilized to purchase local material and equipment and cover the labour cost. Whereas, machinery and equipment worth about $2.7 billion will be imported.

The project scheduled to be completed in 2023 will be completed in three phases. The loan amount for each package will be separately contracted.

By upgrading the existing 2,655-kilometre track, the speed of passenger trains will increase to 165km per hour from 65-110km per hour and line capacity will increase from 34 to 137/171 trains each way per day, informed an official statement released by the authorities.

A steering committee will be formed by the Ministry of Railways to overlook and ensure effective implementation of the project.

Also, a separate body to be called Mainline-1 Authority will be established on the directive of the government. The body will work to carry out the smooth implementation of the Karachi-Peshawar rail track.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan also accorded approval for the restructuring plan for Pakistan Railways. Under this, four new companies would be carved out, including Railway Holding Company, as an umbrella organization, Freight Traffic Management Company, Passenger Traffic Management Company and Infrastructure Management Company.

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