Commentary on improving the Karachi-Peshawar train line
ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the government suspended approval of an increase of the long-awaited main railway-1 from Peshawar to Karachi and the construction of the Havelian Dry Port, at an estimated cost of $ 9.172 billion, with a 90 percent Chinese loan.
The multi-billion-dollar project is proposing to obtain a $ 8.255 billion loan from China under the China-China Economic Corridor, while Pakistan will finance $ 917.23 million through the PSDP. The ML-1 project was postponed during the Development Development Party meeting held under Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission Muhammad Jinhanzib Khan here Wednesday.
Various ministries, including the Planning Committee, have raised objections to various aspects of financing this project and have asked the Ministry of Railways to remove the gap in PC-1 at the next meeting. PC-1 proposed by the Ministry of Railways proposes the implementation of ML-1 in three phases that must be completed in three packages over a period of nine years from January 2021 to December 2029.
ML-1 starts from Karachi, passes Coutry-Hyderabad, Roohri, Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi and ends in Peshawar. The length of the line is 1,872 km, including the Taxila-Havelian section of 55 km and the Laudran-Khanwal section of 91 km. The project is studying the enhancement of ML-1, the construction of dry ports near the Havelian Railway Station, the modernization of the Pakistan Walton Railway Academy in Lahore, passenger facilities, and the development of important train stations, including in Karachi, Hyderabad and Rohuri in Sindh, in addition to Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi in Punjab. Likewise, the train stations in Nowshera and Peshawar in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district will be upgraded. ML-I will be increased because the passenger train speed will increase from 110 km / h to 160 km / h, and the freight train speed will increase to 120 km / h.
The new track will have a axial load of 25 tons over the current axle load of 22.86. It will also increase the capacity of the line from 34 to 171 train daily and will increase the road load on freight trains from 2400 to 3400 tons. Passageway will be used for both passengers and freight trains. Adding 814 km of new lanes will double all lanes from Karachi to Peshawar. In addition, the existing 2,655 km corridor will be upgraded. The separation of the row will also ensure the safety of railway operations and lead to the removal of unoccupied and uninhabited crossings and fences to insulate lanes.
According to the official announcement, Wednesday’s Central Development Party meeting was chaired by Deputy Planning Commissioner Muhammad Jehanzab Khan. CDWP approved three projects worth Rs 1.04 billion and recommended a single-centered paper worth Rs. 20,337 billion for consideration by ECNEC.
The Minister of Planning, Zafar Hassan, and senior officials from the federal government also participated in the meeting, while representatives of the provincial government participated in video conferences. Three transport and communication projects were presented at the meeting.
The first project “Establishment of a business complex at Korangi Fish Port” with a value of Rs. $ 784 million was provided by the Department of Maritime Affairs approved by the CDWP. This envisages the development of a business park to accommodate industrial units, offices and infrastructure in addition to other related services that revolve around a single major product or activity. This will be created on 320 hectares of available land within the boundaries of KPFHA. The second project “Construction of a Cold Storage and Freezing Tunnel at Korangi Fish Port” with a value of Rs.170.1 million and “Modification of the auction hall of the Korangi Fish Port” with a value of Rs.94 million was also approved by CDWP. All projects are funded by the JICA government. The Damer Pasha Dam (land tenure and resettlement) project worth 175 billion rupees is considered a position paper indicating ECNEC.
CDWP also considered the ML-1 project and had a delicate discussion. The forum, which highlights the scope of improving the proposals, postpones until the next meeting.
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