The Main Line (ML-1) project, worth around $9.23 billion is expected to be delayed even further. According to sources inside the railway ministry, government is taking no chances in formulation of a concrete framework for the multibillion dollar project.
The government is expected to hire international consultants for the critical analysis of the financial and technical design of the ML-I project presented by the railway ministry. This step is essential as it will determine financial and technical flaws, if any, and the capacity of Railways to conceive such a huge project. It is expected that this will increase the cost of the project. The final cost of the ML-I project will be determined after the analysis report is presented by the consultants
The PC-1 of the project was submitted to the Planning Ministry back in October 2019, but is yet to be considered by Central Development Working Party (CDWP) and ECNEC. The PC-1 approval is necessary for bidding process, commercial contract and financial close. Pakistan wants China to take on the $9.23 billion ML-1 project, which is declared a strategic project under CPEC, on soft loan terms.
Railways project will consist of early harvest – ML-1 upgrade and establishment of dry port – mid-term – establishing new rail link from Gwadar to Mastung and Besima to Jacobabad and long-term, establishing new rail link from Havelian to Khunjrab.