Field work on ML-1 upgradation to be started this year: Saad Rafique

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ISLAMABAD, Mar 7 (APP): Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique Tuesday informed Senate Standing Committee on Railways that the feasibility report of the upgradation of ML-1 railway line from Karachi to Peshawar had been completed and field work on the project would be initiated by the end of current year.
He said the project was under China Pakistan Economic Corridor and it would be upgraded while keeping in view all safety measures according to the international standards.
He said all level crossing on ML-1 would be eliminated by providing underpasses and fly overs.
The minister, however said this project would take 6-7 years to complete, therefore the government was taking short term measures for safety at unmanned level crossings.
The meeting of the committee was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hassani which was attended among others by Senator Taj Muhammad Haider, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan Dhandla, Zahida Khan and Muhammad Javed Abbasi.
The committee was informed that in Punjab 436 unmanned levels of crossing were reported as vulnerable and an amount of Rs 3706 million was required to upgrade all these vulnerable crossings.
The committee was informed that so far 75 crossings had been upgraded at a cost of Rs 610 million provided by government of Punjab whereas the Punjab government also agreed to provide Rs 1250 million for upgradation of further 150 crossings.
Similarly Sindh government also agreed to provide full funding of Rs 382 million for upgradation of 45 vulnerable crossings.
Initially the Sindh government had provided Rs 54.5 million and work on level crossings had been initiated.
The committee was further informed that in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs 314 million were required to upgrade the 37 vulnerable level crossings while in Balochistan Rs 272 million were required for 32 railway crossings.
In this regard letters had been written to chief secretaries for providing required funding for upgradation of these level crossings.
The meeting was further informed that audio video warning to the road users (red and green signals with bell) would be provided at all railway crossings.
Similarly road surface of all level crossings was being improved in order of priority together with imposed warning board, the committee was informed.
Khawaja Saad informed that the Punjab government was also planning to eliminate level crossings by providing underpasses through Public-Private Partnership.
The committee recommended that establishment of underpasses at the level crossings should be prioritized.