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Government supports Railways’ development initiative: Finance Minister

Islamabad, November 09, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting here today to review the financing arrangements of the “Up-gradation of the Main-Line-1 (ML 1) of Pakistan Railways” one of the early harvest projects of the CPEC. The Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal also participated the meeting along with the Secretaries concerned.

The Finance Minister said that the Government is fully cognizant of the importance of Pakistan Railways as an important service provider to the people of Pakistan and Government will make maximum effort to support the Railways up-gradation initiative. He urged the Secretary Railways to evaluate the up-gradation initiative in detail, keeping in sight the best possible utilization of resources and the maximum value for money.

The Minister for Railways, Khwaja Saad Rafique thanked the Finance Minister for his positive approach and cooperation towards national development projects. Secretary Railways briefed the Finance Minister that the feasibility study of the project was complete and CDWP had already approved the PC-I of the project in June 2016. The Project will be completed in a phased manner. In the first phase, the Karachi to Lahore and Taxila to Havalian portion of the ML1 will 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.

Ministry of Railways 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. In this connection, 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 ADB. The Minister for Planning and Development said that Planning Ministry will support the development initiative of the Ministry of Railways.

The up-gradation of the first phase i.e. Karachi-Lahore and Taxila to Havalian portion envisages locomotives, passenger coaches, freight wagons, signalling and telecommuting equipment, track maintenance equipment, workshop equipment, etc. while the material requirements are rails, rail fastenings, sleepers, ballast, bridge girders, turns outs, steel, concrete and cement, etc. Capacity building of officials and technical staff of PR is also part of the project.

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