ML-1 Project A Glaring Example Of Pak-China Friendship Under CPEC

ML-1 project a glaring example of Pak-China friendship under CPEC

Under CPEC already several projects of power generation and road up gradation have been completed but ML-I is one of the main components of CPEC, an official said

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 19th May, 2021 ) :Under CPEC already several projects of power generation and road up gradation have been completed but ML-I is one of the main components of CPEC, an official said.

According to details, the Chinese government is also investing US$ 6.8billion ML-1 project which features up-gradation and dualization of railway track under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This 1872-kilometer long track from Peshawar to Karachi is expected to create 24,000 jobs and would jump up train speed to 160 kilometers per hour.

Railway line would be upgraded from Karachi to Peshawar and Taxila to Havelian while new track would be laid with improved sub grade for 160km per hour.

Bridges would also be rehabilitated and constructed. This mega project is a glaring example of Pak-China friendship.

Moreover, the provision of modern signalling and telecom systems, conversion of level -crossing into underpasses or flyovers, fencing of track, establishment of dry port near Havelian and up-gradation of Walton Training academy (Lahore) are also the components of this gigantic project.

The completion of this project would not only create direct (20,000 local labour/technical experts and 4,000 Chinese experts) jobs but also reduce travel time between Karachi to Lahore from 18 to 10 hours.

As per official information, the capacity of the line will also be increased from 34 trains per day to 170 trains per day and speed of the freight trains be increased at 120 km/h.

Pakistan Railways is a state enterprise and it has not been a profit making entity since private transport provided better services beginning of the year 2000. However, the ML-1 project is promising uplift of railways in Pakistan.

Keeping in view its importance, the government approved the projects through Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) which is worth $ 6.8 billion on cost sharing basis as Beijing is the main financer.

The projects consists of packages with first one comprising construction of 527-km long rail-track connecting Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Lahore to be completed by 2024, second and third ones are most significant to upgrade 251-km long track between Lahore and Hyderabad and 740-km between Rawalpindi-Peshawar and Hyderabad-Multan respectively, he added.

After its completion, he said the project will generate economic opportunities for daily wagers in main train stations of major cities. After completion, it will also attract the foreign investment.

Moreover, the official said the project would also prove a catalyst to boost tourism sector by easing people's mobility as the present government aims to rejuvenate Pakistan's tourism industry.

Pakistan will be connecting China with West Asia and Africa through its Gwadar Port. All shipped goods to and from China will be transported along with Pakistan's own goods. Timely completion of ML-I is in the best economic interest of Pakistan as well as China, he added.

He said the railway will provide direct access for Chinese and East Asian goods to Pakistani seaports at Karachi and Gwadar by 2030.

Pakistani Railways currently account for four (4) percent of freight traffic in the country but upon completion of CPEC, Pakistani Railways are expected to transport over 20% of the country's freight traffic, the official said.

In addition to upgrading the ML-I, the CPEC project also calls for similar major upgrade on 1,254 kilometre long Main Line-II (ML-II) railway between Kotri in Sindh province, and Attock in Northern Punjab province via cities of Larkana and Dera Ghazi Khan.

The route towards northern Pakistan roughly parallels the Indus River, as compared to the ML-1 which takes a more eastward course towards Lahore. The project also includes a plan to connect Gwadar, to the town of Jacobabad, Sindh which lies at intersection of the ML-II and ML-III railways.

The medium term plans for the Main Line-III (ML-III) railway line will include construction of a 560 kilometer long railway line between Bostan near Quetta, to Kotla Jam in Bhakkar District near the city of Dera Ismail Khan, which will provide access to southern Afghanistan.

He said the railway route will pass through city of Quetta and Zhob before terminating in Kotla Jam and is expected to be constructed by 2025.

With regard to Khunjerab Railway which is long term project under CPEC, calls for construction of the 682 kilometre long Khunjerab Railway line between the city of Havelian to the Khunjerab Pass on Chinese border with extension to China's Lanxin Railway in Kashgar, Xinjiang. The railway will roughly parallel the Karakoram Highway, and is expected to be complete in 2030, the official added.

He said economically, China is Pakistan's largest trading partner and a major investor, especially in infrastructure and energy sector. During 2018, bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$ 18 billion. With official launch of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the bilateral relationship has been elevated to a higher level.