LAHORE - In a situation when India and some other countries are expressing their ‘concerns’ over China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Beijing is likely to respond to them by further increasing funds for the mega projects under the CPEC.

Some top officials of the government informed The Nation that more allocations are expected from the friend of Pakistan in phase-I programme for development of Pakistan Railways under CPEC.

The exact amount of additional funds has so far not been determined, however, some officials believe these could be around $1 billion.

China is already investing $3.7 billion in the Pakistan Railways (Phase-1 programme) under CPEC. The total funding in CPEC is around $46 billion. Both the governments (China and Pakistan) had signed 51 MoUs for infrastructure development of various departments including the Railways under CPEC.

“In phase-1 programme, China has reserved $3.7 billion for the PR. This money will be used for upgradation of mainline-1 (Karachi-Peshawar, Taxila to Havelian) and for construction of new dry port at Bhulder (Havelian),” said official sources.

The projects proposed in phase-1 by the PR engineers in consultation with the Chinese officials would require more funds than the reserve amount of $3.7 billion. The Chinese were aware of the fact and they have expressed their commitment for giving all needed funds for the development of the PR, they added.

The development work on the projects will start next year in January after the completion of feasibility studies in September this year. The projects of the PR under phase-1 will complete in 2019.

The neighboring country has reserved billions of dollars for the development of the PR under phase-II (Medium Term—2020-25) and phase-III (Long Term—2025-30) programmes as well.

These projects include upgradation of main line-2, extension of ML-2 from Gwadar to Jacobabad via Basima and extension of track from Havelian-Khunjrab and Kashghar.

The main projects in phase-1 programmes are: Speed up-gradation up to 160 KMPH and axle load of 25 tons. Track infrastructure and alignment rehabilitation, up-gradation of bridges for higher speeds and loads, up-gradation of signaling and telecommunication, up-gradation of stations and terminal facilities and especially redevelopment of Lahore and Karachi stations, doubling of track from Shahdara to Chaklala and Golra to Peshawar, new freight lines between Karachi Port and Kotri, Induction of new locomotives and rolling stock, up-gradation of sheds, shops, depots, track alignment design for increasing speed, electric traction on ML-1 keeping in view the rising volume, establishment of dry port at Hevelian in Haripur, up-gradation of Pakistan Railways Academy Walton, Lahore and up-gradation of infrastructure and rolling stock maintenance facilities.