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PTI govt put ML-1 on back burner: Railways minister

Pakistan Railways plans to rehabilitate 33km track in Balochistan

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Saturday presided over a meeting on the current status of the Main Line (ML-1) project of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), development plans and the Rabta application of the Pakistan Railways.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said no work was carried out on this important project in the last four years of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

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“The ML-1 is the lifeline of the Pakistan Railways.”

Giving instructions regarding the special purpose vehicle, the minister said that it should be restored immediately. The railway administration should reset its priorities so that talks could be held with China in this regard, he added.

The minister directed the officials concerned to review all legal and technical aspects of the Rabta application and submit a report.

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He also sought details about PR’s investment in Gwadar, rail link from Basima to Gwadar and the construction of a railway station and a terminal in Gwadar.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Railways (PR) is planning to start rehabilitation work on over 33-kilometer track between Quetta-Bostan and the Quetta-Chaman section.

“The track will not only facilitate passengers, but will also connect three major cities of the province,” an official of the Ministry of Railways told APP.

The official said there were two passenger trains namely Jaffer Express (40Up, 39 Down) and Chaman Passenger (349Up, 350 Down) operating in Balochistan while no stations had been closed during the last 15 years in Quetta division.

He said the overall length of the railway track in Balochistan was 1470.36 kilometer, including the closed Bostan-Zhob section.

“The most of the track is more than 100-year-old and on certain stretches, engineering speed restrictions have been imposed due to deferred maintenance and resource constraints,” he said, adding that the maintenance of track was being carried out with available resources.

To improve railway services in Balochistan, he said the department was taking several steps, including getting approval for PC-I for the track’s rehabilitation and the rehabilitation of another 100-km track between Ahmedwal Dalbadin on the Quetta-Taftan section.

The official said that 100-km between Nokundi Kohi-Taftan on the Quetta-Taftan section and 160-km track between Bostan-Chaman on the Quetta-Chaman section would be rehabilitated.

The official said that the establishment of the Chaman Terminal in collaboration with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was also in progress.



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