China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Fast Track Railways comes on agenda
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will discuss to speed up spade work for the construction of the fast track China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway Line.
A tripartite Ministerial level meeting will be held in Tashkent on December 27 to review tentative costing, changes is tentative track map and deciding a time-line for this project.
Meanwhile, unofficial information coming from China indicates that this project will be part of One Belt, One Road (OBOR) trade-connectivity initiative and Kyrgyzstan will be included in the project as a stakeholder and cargo trains will stop in Kyrgyzstan. It is worth mentioning that there is no cargo stop for Kyrgyzstan in original map.
“Kyrgyzstan will be included in cargo stops and will be a full stakeholder of the project”, said sources in state run Kyrgyz Railways.
The proposed Railway line will cover an area of 500 kilometers while traveling through the mountains of western China and Kyrgyzstan. Railway track will pass critical mountain areas of at the altitudes of 2,000 to 3,500 meters above sea level. Original map requires construction of 52 tunnels and 96 bridges.
The Railway Line would start in Kashgar where it would be linked with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Railway link.
This track will link western Xinjiang Autonomous Uyghur Region with Uzbekistan through Kyrgyzstan, minimizing the dependence of China on China-Afghanistan route. Railway Line will arrive at Ferghana Valley of Uzbekistan from where it will be linked with Uzbek-Afghan track.
It is pertinent to mention that the project was conceived just after the independence of Central Asia from former Soviet Union but the cost of project was high and construction of track was discouraged by international funding organisations including Asian Development Bank and World Bank.
In October 2011, Kyrgyzstan estimated the cost as around $4 billion. According to the calculations of 2012, this railway will cost $ 6 to 6.5 billion.
According to an official statement of Ministry of Transport and Roads of the Kyrgyz Republic, ministerial level meeting will decide the timeline of future track of China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway Line.