The Pakistan Railways is going to invite international tenders for the Main Line-One (ML-1) project on September 12. The ML-I is one of the major projects under the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“We are going to open the international tenders of the ML-1 on September 12. It is good news for the Pakistan Railways,” Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid said at a press conference in Punjab’s provincial capital on Saturday.
He said the railways management will simultaneously initiate the publicity of this mega project which it believes is the only way to revive the ailing public sector corporation.
The framework agreement for ML-1 was signed on May 15, 2017 during the visit of Pakistani premier to China. Since then the railways management had been eagerly waiting for the project’s final approval which the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) gave on August 5.
The price of the ML-1 project has been downward revised to $6.8 billion. Earlier, the project cost around $8.2 billion. The entire ML-1 covers a 1,872km track and includes laying a new track and upgrading the previous one to ensure 160km per hour speed.
It also includes rehabilitation and construction of bridges, provision of modern signaling and telecom systems, conversion of level crossings into underpasses and flyovers and fencing of the entire track
It is expected that once completed, railways passenger traffic will be doubled which currently stands at 50 million on this track.
Karachi Circular Railways
The minister said the railways has also rehabilitated 11km track of the Karachi Circular Railways (KCR).
“We have received Rs10 billion funds for the KCR and we have completed 11km long track. In phase-1, we will complete its single track by December 30. In phase-2, work we will double this track”.
“We will do our best to act as per the orders of Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed who directed the PR to complete this work,” he added.
The KCR project is also included in CPEC mass transit’s section and it is expected that the prime minister will announce complete rehabilitation of the KCR under the Karachi Rehabilitation Project.
The minister said the Pakistan Railways is also ready to dispatch imported wheat. “There are some technical issues which are yet to be resolved soon in executing this particular project. Hopefully those will be resolved and railways will be used as a mode for transporting for imported wheat.”
He said the railways will also provide its services for transporting the newly introduced Euro-5 fuel.
“We do have the containers to transport this new fuel to different parts of the country. Railways infrastructure will be used for this purpose which will be a win-win solution,” he added.