‘Quetta, Peshawar mass transit schemes part of CPEC’

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ISLAMABAD: The Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project has been included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) held in Beijing on December 29, said Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Railways.

He said that the KCR project had been delayed for years due to flaws in the project, adding that earlier, this project was to be completed in collaboration with Japanese donor agency (JICA) but the model proposed by JICA was not implementable.

Under the prime minister’s direction the proposal of including KCR in CPEC was presented in the JCC meeting, which was approved by the Chinese side.

Press conference

Addressing a news conference, Rafique revealed that apart from KCR, Quetta Mass Transit and Peshawar Mass Transit schemes were also being made part of CPEC.

He said that a high level delegation comprising chief ministers from Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had visited China to participate in the 6th JCC conference to discuss CPEC related projects.

He said the federal government would provide all possible assistance in carrying out the provincial projects for the benefit of the common man and offered expertise of Pakistan Railways’ serving and retired employees for the successful execution of the schemes.

China had referred the three projects to its transport working group that would evaluate them and submit recommendations before the JCC in the next meeting scheduled to be held after six months, said the railway minister.

Talking about the ongoing projects he said there was significant development on upgrade of the ML-I track, as accordingly an agreement with China would be signed soon, besides the Gwadar deep seaport would be connected with the national railway network.

After upgrade of the Karachi-Peshawar track (ML-I), the minister said trains would run at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour (kph) instead of 65-120 kph, adding that it would also increase Pakistan Railways’ capacity to run trains from 32 trains to 171 per day.