ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Railways on Wednesday informed the Sub-committee of the Public Accounts Committee that the cost of ML-1 project under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is in advance stage, could be increased to $8 billion.
It was also informed that the feasibility study of the first phase of the ML-1 project has been completed and the Ministry of Railway has submitted to the PC-1 of the project to the Ministry of Planning and Development for the approval and after the approval of the PC-1 the negotiation with Chinese government for the loans of the project will be initiated.
Also Read: Pakistan seeks $9bn Chinese loan for ML-1
The meeting of the Sub-committee of the PAC was held with the chair of its Convener Senator Sherry Rehman here on Wednesday. Secretary Ministry of Railways Sikandar Sultan Raja told the Sub-committee of the PAC that if the ML-1 project was not started in three months then the running of the Pakistan Railways will be difficult.
To the query of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Secretary Ministry of Railways told the committee that the Ministry of Planning and Development will be in better position to reply with regard to loans for the ML-1 project on Chinese currency.
The Sub-committee of the PAC directed the Ministry of Railways to give detailed briefing on the ML-1 project in the next meeting. To the queries of Convener of the Sub-committee of the PAC Senator Sherry Rehman with regard to recent accidents of Pakistan Railways, Secretary Ministry of Railways told the committee that the system of Pakistan Railways was outdated and even the track of railway was not up to date yet. ‘The track of Pakistan Railways was 80 to 90 years old and even the signals were also outdated,” he told the committee.
He told the committee that Pakistan Railways yet not inducted new coaches and the tender for the purchase of new coaches was postponed thrice in last one year. On the recent accident of train in Bahawalpur, Secretary Ministry of Pakistan Railways told the committee that Chief Inspector Railways did not submit the final report yet.
“The professional’s assistance was also acquired for the preparing of the report on the incident,” he told the committee.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 28th, 2019)