Railways to reduce freight charges

Fate of Railway’s Mega Project, Main Line-1 continues to hang in balance  

Engineering Post Report

Railways  Main Line -1(ML-!) Rehabilitation and Up gradation is a mega project  which is to be co-financed by China and Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework and its fate somehow continues to hang in balance   for quite some time.

Both sides through mutual consultations have recently agreed to Pakistan Railways mega project downsizing. Accordingly, it has been revised in scope, financing and period of completion.

The Railways Ministry has prepared the revised PCs  and submitted them   for consideration and approval  by the Central Development Working Party  (CDWP) and the Executive Committee of the National \Economic Council (ECNEC), two main approval bodies of the Planning Commission. But the mega project somehow is not being given due priority which it deserves.

China is to finance the project under the Concessional Financing agreement which is being discussed at the appropriate level of officials from both sides.China is the major financier of the project  which has been part of discussions when top leaders from China and Pakistan visit each other     country.

Following revision of the mega project through mutual agreement, the overall estimate of the project, which is  a crucial part of CPEC, now stands at  Rs $ 6.67 billion,it will be executed in phases. First phase will comprise 930 kilometers which will be completed in five years at a cost of $ 31597 million. First  package  consists  397 kilometer of track from Nowshera, Rohri, Khanpur and Walton while package two  extends to 533 kilometers and includes tracks from Nawabshah (296 kilometers) and from Khanpur to Multan (237 kilometers) and will be undertaken at a cost of Rs $ 3159 million.

Second phase of ML-1  will be completed at an estimated cost of $ 3518.8 million covering 796 kilometers long  track .

 Package 3 will cover Multan to Lahore (334 kilometers) at a cost of $ 799.  

In the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) 2023-24,  Upgradation of Pakistan Railways  existing Main Line (ML-1) and establishment of Dry Port near Havelian , as approved by ECNEC in October 2022, was listed to be undertaken at an estimated cost of Rs 1970218.800 million including  foreign aid of Rs  440183.844 million  among  Railways Division’s new schemes.