Dar chairs meeting to review financing arrangements for main railway line upgradation

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 9 (APP): Minister for Finance Mohammad Ishaq Dar Wednesday chaired a meeting here to review the financing arrangements of upgradation of the main-line-1 (ML-1) of Pakistan Railways, one of the early harvest projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal also participated in the meeting along with the secretaries concerned.
The minister said the government wss fully cognizant of the importance of Pakistan Railways as an important service provider to the people and it would make maximum efforts to support its upgradation initiative.
He urged the Secretary Railways to evaluate the upgradation initiative in detail, keeping in view the best possible utilization of resources and the maximum value for money.
Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique thanked the Finance Minister for his positive approach and cooperation towards national development projects.
The Secretary Railways briefed the meeting that the feasibility study of the project was complete and the CDWP had already approved its PC-I in June, 2016.
The project, he said, would be completed in phases. In the first phase, Karachi to Lahore and Taxila to Havalian portions of the ML-1 would be undertaken.
As the project was of vital importance to Pakistan, having long term financial, economic and social benefits, there was a pressing need to finance the project through concessional financing from various sources, he added.
The Ministry of Railways, he said, had already sent a request to the Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms and the Economic Affairs Division for arranging the loan for the project on favourable terms.
The Finance Minister directed the Economic Affairs Division and the Ministry of Planning to explore possible sources of concessional financing, including the Exim Bank of China and Asian Development Bank.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the Planning Ministry would support the development initiative of the Ministry of Railways.
The upgradation of the first phase, including Karachi to Lahore and Taxila to Havalian portions envisages locomotives, passenger coaches, freight wagons, signaling and telecom equipment.
It also includes track maintenance equipment, workshop equipment while the material requirements are rails, rail fastenings, sleepers, ballast, bridge girders, turns outs, steel, concrete and cement.
Capacity building of railway officials and technical staff is also part of the project.