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Railway track project planned from Karachi to Peshawar

13 November, 2015

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KARACHI: A railway track project worth $5 billion has been planned to compete in next five years from Karachi to Peshawar as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will streamline and increase railway transportation for logistics, trading and traveling of passengers in the country.

Addressing the sixth meeting of Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of the CPEC on Thursday, Minister of Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said the railway tracks will be carpeted in phases to halve duration of the distance between the two destinations.

The railway will move at 160 per km in accordance with a plan as against 60-82 per km at present, whereas the project contains establishment of advance stations and automatic signal system that will help greatly in the transportation of cargo and passengers services. The railway tracks will be laid down from Karachi to Hyderabad districts first and then Multan to Peshawar in the initial stages, he added.

The minister said the importance of Karachi is imminent for development of the CPEC which shows that the commercial hub of the country is coming back to business with foreign and local investors are taking keen interest in its development and economy after security operations of Rangers.

Iqbal said that law and order situation have been improved remarkably which is evident of the fact that businessmen are keen to visit Karachi. It is because of the improved security situation of the country, which attracted investment of $400 million mainly in Karachi Electric Corporation, he added.

He claimed that security and economy are two major focus of PM Nawaz Sharif and these two areas brought up changes in the dynamics of country that is being declared as emerging economy due to dedicated efforts of the government. The development of motorway has been decided from Karachi to Peshawar, which will be built from Karachi to Hyderabad and Lahore to Multan in first stage. Later, it will be joined to Lahore to Peshawar and Hyderabad to Multan.

The Planning minister said that energy is the main requirement of the development hence a project of 660 MW will be starting producing electricity to national grid by start of 2017, whereas the production capacity of power has been planned to increase to 2,600 MW in Sindh using coal reserves, wind and solar energy projects.

He mentioned that land has been purchased for construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam, which will cost $1 billion aimed at generating 9,000 MW electricity for national grid.

He said that dams and reservoirs are indispensable for survival, as fastest changing climate will dry down water in Indus Water, whereas rainfalls are also certain in coming years. The government is seriously working on the project, which was neglected in the past, however, its first stage has been completed and more dams are being planned on various locations.

The government has handed over land of Gwadar to China as part of the CPEC for developing industrial estate there, whereas 25 different industrial zones have been discussed to set up in different provinces. He said that representative of each provinces were present in the meeting between delegations of China and Pakistan in order to keep the project as a national agenda with maximum participation of every provinces in the CPEC.

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