ISLAMABAD                  -             The PC-I of $9.2 billion Karachi to Peshawar Railway Line ML-I is likely to be tabled for the approval of CDWP in early March while the tendering of the project will be completed by the end of next month, it is learnt reliably here.

The PC-I of Karachi to Peshawar Railway Line ML-I will be submitted to the next meeting of the Central Development Working Party(CDWP) scheduled during first week of March, official sources told The Nation.

The matter related to the progress of the ML-I project was held in the PM office where Federal minister for Railway Sheikh Rasheed briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan about the ML-I project and its cost.

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The railway minister also briefed the Prime Minister regarding railway business plan and Nullah Leh Expressway and flood Channel project.

Regarding the ML-I project it was informed that the estimated cost of the Project is $ 9.2 billion and the PC-I is likely to be approved during first week of next month, source said. After 15 days of the approval the tendering work of the project will begun, the source added.

Meanwhile Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar also chaired a meeting to review the present status of preparation and processing of PC-I of the ML-I project and the Pakistan Railway Strategic Plan here.

Dr. Ishrat Hussain Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms & Austerity, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Secretary Planning, Secretary Railway and senior officials of both Ministries participated in the meeting.

The meeting was informed that the umbrella PC-1 of the project was under review in the Planning Commission.

Considering the significance of the project as well as the scale of financing required for the project, the Planning Commission is carrying out the required due diligence is consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

For this purpose the Commission also arranged a consultative workshop on the project in the last week of January 2020. In parallel a financing committee for the project has also been constituted which has been looking into the modalities for implementation of the project with the regard to the terms and conditions of the financing.

The committee had already asked EAD to advice the Chinese side of the Gop’s readiness for execution of the project under CPEC.

Planning Minister Asad Umar said that government is keen to improve and upgrade the railway infrastructure in the country and ML-1 is the most important project in this regard.

He said that improvement of efficiency, freight services and providing quality traveling facilities to commuters is our objective.

He emphasized 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 asked Railways should expedite the reaming work of 3rd party review so that the same can be processed for approval at the earliest. Asad Umar further asked the Financing Committee to expidite its work and engages with the Chinese side to finalize terms and conditions of financing.

He stressed on the MoR that the institutional / organizational reforms are inevitable for sustenance of Railways and for its future operation & maintenance of the system. In this regard, the Railway should implement reforms and improve the organizational structure to be able to handle a much bigger infrastructure.

The Minister said that apart from ML-1, the Karachi Circular Railway was also an important project in the same sector. He said that the government wants to finalize / implement both these projects.

Secretary Railway expressed the desire and readiness of the Ministry for executing both the projects at the earliest.