Pakistan Railways’ ML-1 Project Under CPEC is Undergoing Final Review

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a meeting to review the status of preparation and processing of PC-I of the ML-I project and the Pakistan Railway Strategic Plan.

Dr. Ishrat Hussain Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms & Austerity, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Secretary Planning, Secretary Railway and senior officials of both Ministries participated in the meeting.

The meeting was informed that the PC-1 of the project is under review in the planning commission. Considering the significance of the project as well as the scale of financing, the planning commission is carrying out due diligence in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

For this purpose, the commission also arranged a consultative workshop on the project in the last week of January 2020. In parallel, a financing commitment for the project has also been constituted which has been looking into the modalities for implementation of the project with the regard to the terms and conditions of the financing. The committee had already asked EAD to advise the Chinese side of Pakistan’s readiness for the execution of the project under CPEC.

Planning Minister Asad Umar said that the government is keen to improve and upgrade the railway infrastructure in the country and ML-1 is the most important project in this regard. He said that improving efficiency, freight services and providing quality traveling facilities to commuters is the objective. He emphasized the need for devising a holistic strategy for developing and upgrading infrastructure across the country and fill connectivity gaps for sustained national growth.

The Minister asked that Pakistan Railways should expedite the reaming work of 3rd party review so that it can be processed for approval at the earliest. Asad Umar asked the Financing Committee to expedite its work and engages with the Chinese side to finalize terms and conditions of financing. He stressed the Ministry of Railway to undertake institutional/organizational reforms are inevitable for the sustenance of Pakistan Railways and for its future operation & maintenance of the system. In this regard, it should implement reforms and improve the organizational structure to be able to handle a much bigger infrastructure.

The Minister said that apart from ML-1, the Karachi Circular Railway is also an important project in the same sector. He said that the government wants to finalize/implement both these projects. Secretary Railway expressed the desire and readiness of the Ministry for executing both the projects at the earliest.