ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Minister for Railways Shahid Ashraf Tarar told the Senate that active negotiations are underway between two sides for an early start of the Main Line-1 (ML-1) Project.
To a question in the Upper House, the minister told that the modified PC-1 of ML-1 Project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on October 31, 2022 with the plan to execute in three Packages at a cost of US$ 9.851 billion.
The total completion time as per approved PC-1 for the Project is nine years.
Pakistan Railways is of the view that reducing the cost of the project by optimizing the scope and the standards, without compromising the underlying objective of safety and efficiency is the need of the time.
The Federal Minister for Railways and Pakistan Railway officers at all levels participated in detailed deliberations for cost cutting of ML-1 and prepared few options.
The option of Upgradation of ML-1 with rationalized scope & cost was principally agreed by the Prime Minister on June 13, 2023 and was also agreed by the National Railways Administration (NRA) of China during the 21st Technical Experts Conference meeting wherein it was agreed to readjust the Design in line with the agreed changes.
On October 31, 2023 the Adjustment of Design as per rationalized criteria has been submitted by M/s. CREEC to Pakistan Railways, which is under review. Ministry of Railways has already requested National Railway Administration, China to give its consent for the bidding process of Phase-I and Chinese Side response is awaited.
Rs 390 million has been incurred on Feasibility Study, and Rs 10,641.634 million on Preliminary Design of the project.
The House was told that the ML-1 Project has not yet been started; however, active negotiations are underway between two sides for an early start of the project.