ML-1 Railway Line – CPEC Development Update
ML-1 Railway Line is a key project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) dubbed as backbone of CPEC with an estimated cost of $8.2 Billion. The ML-1 Railway Line up-gradation under CPEC is divided into three phases with incorporation of modern technology and additional freight wagons. The ML-1 Railway Line is one of the major infrastructure projects and this expansion will benefit Pakistan economically so it’s a top priority of government.
ML-1 Railway Line Being Backbone of CPEC – Projects Details
ML-1 Railway Line is 1872 Kilometers long railway line from Karachi to Havelian and is the core priority for Government while continuing the 2nd phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor .The reason to split ML-1 project in two phases was the high cost and extensive work of this project as it requires renovation and expansion of the main railway line. The project’s initial cost of $8.2 billion was based on a joint feasibility study.
The present government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, took Chinese government into confidence and both sides decided to bring some amendments in project to make it equally profitable for both sides.
Though ML-1 project also been through some rumors of differences from both sides over financial costs and funding modules, but all such reports were shot down when Prime Minister Imran Khan paid a high level visit to Beijing and ML-1 agreement was signed between Pakistan and China. Now ML-1 Railway Line is under construction and aimed to be 2022.
ML-1 Railway Benefits under CPEC
Railway Minister has announced the production of at least 150,000 jobs to locals at different levels by ML-1 Railway Line project. The officials of the Ministry of Railways expect the number of new jobs under ML-1 could touch the 200,000 mark.
The officials said that the scope of the project was induction of 50 locomotives, 300 passenger coaches and 2,000 freight wagons and up gradation of Walton Training Academy. Along with completion of ML-1, the freight volumes of Pakistan railways would considerably increase and the people would also get state of the art rail travelling facilities.
The up-gradation would enhance speed; reduce travel time; improve the number of trains per day and, hence, generate more revenue while decreasing the burden on roads.
ML-1 Railway Line under CPEC Latest Update
On Thursday 18 July, a meeting was held in Islamabad between Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed. Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Secretary Railways and senior officials of both ministries were also present in the meeting. Being dubbed as spine project of CPEC, Minister for Planning noted that ML-1 project had been approved by CDWP subject to certain conditions. The two sides discussed the progress and future way forward on the project.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Railways said that measures were taken to improve the railways system including providing facilities to passengers, upgrading locomotives, reducing losses and launching new trains. ML-1 will become functional by the end of 2021.
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