ISLAMABAD: Li Xuedoung, DG National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) China, has said that projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have tremendously progressed over the past three years, a statement issued by the Ministry of Railways said on Tuesday.
“The plan to upgradation ML I, the main railway track joining Peshawar to Karachi, under CPEC would not only benefit the people especially along the route, but also contribute to the economic as well as social development of Pakistan,” Xuedoung told Khawja Saad Rafique, Minister for Railways, in a meeting at his office.
“ML I is the key priority on the working agenda and NDRC takes a complete view of the venture, which is a huge upgradation project.” Xuedoung further said that NDRC would make its due contribution to CPEC’s development.
Speaking on the occasion, Khawaja Saad Rafique, said that the MLI project will create hundreds of new employment opportunities. “It will also speed up the development in the country,” the railways minister said.
A delegation from Beijing based National Railway Administration (NRA) also attended the meeting focusing the upgradation of the track and the methodology of financing. It must be noted here that NDRC and NRA are helping Pakistan Railways in rehabilitation/improvement of existing track.
The ML 1 upgradation project would be completed in the next five years at the cost of $8 billion. China would provide $5.5 billion dollars while Asian Development Bank (ADB) would extend $2.5 billion for the project.
This delegation will also inspect sections of Lahore-Multan and Lahore- Rawalpindi railway tracks. Meanwhile, Rafique also met with the representatives of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and ECO Trade and Development Bank (ECO-TDB) to discuss the possibility of financing infrastructure projects along the Pakistani section of Islamabad-Tehran –Istanbul (ITI) rail route.
Addressing the meeting, Rafique said that it was imperative to have as many rail links with the neighbouring countries as possible to improve the multilateral trade and people-to-people contacts.