Pakistan denies any halt to $15 billion mega railway line project

Asim Bajwa says ML-1 is country’s high priority gigantic project

By: Muhammad Riaz      Published: 11:17 AM, 19 Apr, 2020
Pakistan denies any halt to $15 billion mega railway line project

Chairman China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa has quashed rumours and that the ML-1 (Main Railway Line-1) project, a key component of the CPEC initiative, has been halted.

Around $6 billion will go on transport and infrastructure projects and a further $8-$9 billion will be absorbed by the ML-1 (Main Railway Line-1), the gigantic project that will connect north-south of the country through modern high-speed rail tracks and series of bridges and tunnels.

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In a set of twin tweets on Sunday, General Asim Saleem Bajwa said: “#CPEC: Rumours&misgivings about ML-1 being halted/slowed down are baseless. ML-1 is our high priority mega railway project, being pursued on fast track basis. All feasibilities/evaluations done, financing with Chinese Govt at advance stage. Stakeholders/experts being consulted.”

In the second tweet, the CPEC Authority chairman said: “#CPEC ML-1 is the largest single cpec infra project, to generate huge employment, revolutionise railway/improve logistics. Focus is on making it best project for Pakistan. Proposal to be presented to CDWP, after refining all aspects, soon as per process #CPECMakingProgress.”

Earlier this month, Asim Bajwa had also rejected baseless rumours regarding the slowing down of the CPEC projects amid coronavirus pandemic. In a tweet, Bajwa while rejecting the baseless propaganda articles said the CPEC project was making steady progress as they were in position to launch the phase-II of the multi-billion project with enhanced scope.

Last week, Asim Bajwa disclosed that the construction work on the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway is likely to start by end of 2020. In a tweet, he said the construction of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway had already been approved and process of land acquisition was in progress.

He informed that the tendering process for the project was likely to begin in a couple of months.

The Chairman CPECA further informed that with completion of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway, entire Eastern Route of CPEC from Peshawar to Karachi would be the Motorway and travel time would be down by almost half.

The government had already announced that this project would be constructed through private sector on Built Operate Transfer (BOT) basis. The Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M6) is a project to be executed under National Highway Authority.

The project cost is estimated at Rs204.28 billion and it would take 33 months to complete.

The 300-km motorway project starting from Sukkur will pass through Khairpur, Naushehro Feroze, Nawab Shah, Matiari, Hala and Jamshoro and terminate at Hyderabad.