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Government green signals the $8.2 billion ML-1 project

  • July 30, 2019
Government green signals the $8.2 billion ML-1 project
Image caption Government green signals the $8.2 billion ML-1 project

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed Pakistan Railways authorities to expedite the much-awaited $8.2 billion project of up-gradation of rail tracks from Karachi to Peshawar — ML-1 — which is being executed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Presiding over a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on the ML-1 project, the prime minister said: “The common man travels in trains and, therefore, there is a need to make safe the journey and assets of the Pakistan Railways.”

The meeting was also attended by Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Secretary of Railways Sikandar Sultan Raja and ECO of Railways Muhammad Aftab Akbar.

Mr Rashid informed the participants that the project would not only modernise the Pakistan Railways, but it would also provide better travel and transport facilities to the masses.

It has been reported that the government had already decided to revert to the original ML-1 plan on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode under previously agreed loan as part of the CPEC.

Minister sure travel facilities would improve after the project

The federal cabinet had decided to undertake the ML-I project on the previously-agreed terms of agreement, instead of Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) basis it had considered earlier.

An implementation committee on the ML-I project, headed by the railways minister, has also been constituted to identify financial savings and fast-track completion of the project.

Originally, the previous government had agreed to China’s offer for a concessionary loan of $8.2bn for the ML-I project. China did not agree to change the ML-1 implementation model from EPC to BOT.

Pakistan Baitul Maal: In a separate meeting, Managing Director of Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM), Aun Abbas Bappi, apprised the prime minister that his organisation would provide shelter and education to over 10,000 children.

Giving a briefing to the prime minister on the one-year performance of the PBM, Mr Bappi said that these children would be provided facilities in a recently established Darul Ehsaas centre formed under the government’s programme of Ehsaas.

Babar Awan: PTI leader Dr Babar Awan also called on the prime minister and discussed several political and legal matters.

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