Pak-China to advance the process of ML-1 earliest implementation

By Tahir Ali | Gwadar Pro Nov 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD, Oct 3 (Gwadar Pro) - China and Pakistan on Wednesday recognised Main Line-1 (ML-1) as a key connectivity project under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and agreed to “build upon the leadership consensus and to advance the process of its earliest implementation”.

According to a joint statement, issued during the official visit of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to China, “ML-1 is a project of importance to Pakistan’s socio-economic development” and will be executed at the earliest after the mutual consensus of the leadership of both sides.

ML-1 is an important connectivity project under CPEC that will not only resolve the existing transportation problems of Pakistan but the project has the “potential to create 174,000 direct jobs” in the country.

The Up-Gradation and Dualisation of ML-1 and establishment of a Dry Port near Havelian, in the Abbottabad district, is one of the mega-proposed projects under CPEC. The estimated cost of the project is US$ 6806 million which will also create thousands of jobs during the construction and after the completion of the project. The length of the ML-1 from Karachi to Peshawar and Taxila to Havelian is 1,733 km.  ML-1 reaches Peshawar from Karachi via Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Rohri, Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Lahore, Gujranwala, and Rawalpindi. The project also includes laying of a new track with improved subgrade for 160 km/h; rehabilitation and construction of major bridges; provision of modern signaling and Telecom Systems; conversion of Level Crossings into Underpasses/ Fly Overs; fencing of the entire track; establishment of Dry Port near Havelian and up-gradation of Walton Training Academy. With the completion of ML-1, the travel time between Peshawar and Karachi will be reduced from 30 hours to 13 to 14 hours.

During the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, both sides also discussed the transportation issues of Karachi. “They also agreed to actively advance the Karachi Circular Railway, which was an urgent requirement for Pakistan’s biggest city,” reads the joint statement.

According to CPEC’s website, KCR is a proposed project under CPEC, which will be constructed in Public-private partnership (PPP) mode. The project is a part of the improvement of transport infrastructure including the road network, provision of Public Transport- Mass Transit facilities and Traffic management in Karachi, the largest metropolis.

Under the project, the 43-kilometer dual-track Urban Rail Mass Transit System will be constructed in a period of three years. The estimated cost of the project is over Rs. 27o billion, which will provide reliable, safe and eco-friendly public transport to the metropolitan city of Karachi. The meeting was informed that KCR is expected to serve a daily ridership of 457,000, which is expected to soar to one million a day by the end of the 33-year concession period. It will deploy the use of electric trains and will be operational around the week. Under the plan, 30 stations would be constructed along the corridor covering the most densely populated areas of Karachi.

KCR commences from the existing Karachi city station, moves along the main line of PR on Drigh Road Station and will further go across Shahrah-e- Faisal and enters into Gulistan-e- Johar, and Gulshan-e- Iqbal. KCR will also pass through the older residential areas of North Nazimabad, Nazimabad leading to SITE area and further to the Port, then  back to Karachi City Station.

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