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ECNEC approved a project to upgrade the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway track of $ 6.7 billion

Islamabad: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Wednesday approved a project to upgrade the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway track – with an estimated cost of PKR 1.137 trillion.

The meeting, held under the chair of Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shailk, also approved three other development projects that are estimated to cost an accumulative PKR 114 billion.

The up-gradation project for the Pakistan Railways’ existing 2,655-kilometre-long track of ML-1 and development of a dry port near Havelian was green-lit at a rationalized cost of USD 6.807 billion. The expenditure will be shared by both the governments of China and Pakistan.

The Chinese banks will provide 90% of the cost in form of long-term loan – the conditions for which are yet to be finalized. The remaining 10% will be provided by the Pakistani government.

Moreover, of the total amount, 59% (PKR 672 billion) amount will be spent on local material, workforce and equipment – while machinery of USD 2.7 billion will be imported.

The project will be executed in three phases and the loan amount for each is to be separately contracted. With the ML-1 upgrade the speed of passenger trains shall increase from 65-100 kilometres per hour to 165 kilometres per hour, and the line capacity shall increase from 34 to 137/171 trains per day (each way). A project steering committee will also be set up for the effective implementation of the said development.

Furthermore, a restructuring plan for the Pakistan Railways has been approved by Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, under which new firms will be carved out. For a cost of PKR 11.074 billion, the ECNEC has also approved the Pakistan Single-Window Project – to be funded by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

Additionally, the committee approved the change in cost-bearing ratios of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and its financing partners for the ‘construction of BRT Red Line Project in Karachi’ at a cost of PKR 78.384 billion – including a Foreign Exchange Component (FEC) of PKR 66.378 billion.

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