‘ML-1 project last chance for recovery of railway structure’

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Thursday said that the mega Main Line 1 (ML-1) railway project to be executed under the umbrella of CPEC was the last chance for railway authorities for recovery of railway structure.
Chairing the committee meeting held here, Sher Ali Arbab also directed the ministry that a governance model should be introduced where regulator had the freedom of oversight of the project.
Briefing the committee on the project, Secretary Railways Habib ur Rehman Gilani explained that the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) had recommended PC-1 of USD 7.2 billion project to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) which would be considered in its forthcoming meeting. He said financing committees had been constituted from Pakistan as well as China while five exhaustive meetings had also been held on this project.
He informed that It was a huge investment in the history of Pakistan Railways. There is a complete business model to modernize the Railways as a corporate self-sustaining entity. The secretary added that the important feature of this project was that it would retire the loan itself. He further informed that Terms of References for the project had been finalized after a well thought exercise.
Earlier Secretary, Power Division briefed the committee on the power projects under CPEC and said that under CPEC frame work agreement was signed by China and Pakistan and there were 14 power generation projects which were categorized as prioritized projects with 10414 MW generation capacity and 7 projects were categorized as activity promoted with the power generation capacity of 6645 MW. Currently, he said there were 20 power projects of 13048 MW at different stages of implementation out of which 9 projects were commissioned with capacity of 5320 MW, while 6 projects were under construction with generation capacity of 4484 MW.
Matiari-Lahore HVDC transmission line of 878 KM long with 4000 MW capacity is under construction which is the first transmission line in private sector in Pakistan. In the current CPEC portfolio there are nine coal based power projects of 8220 MW out of which four are imported coal based projects of 4260 MW whereas five are Thar Coal based projects of 3690 MW. The secretary power said four CPEC power projects based on coal had been commissioned out of these 4 power projects, Sahiwal Coal Power Project was completed in 27 months record time which is a recorded minimum time of commissioning in the coal based projects the world over.
The Committee appreciated the hard work of the concerned authorities for commissioning of the energy projects in minimum record time.
Provincial Secretaries of Energy from Sindh and Punjab were directed to submit their energy issues to the committee for further consideration and redressal by the concerned departments.
The Chairman directed Power Division that monthly progress report of under construction energy projects may be furnished to the Committee regularly. The meeting was attended by the committee members Noor Alam Khan, Sadaqat Ali Khan Abbasi, Umar Aslam Khan, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Mehnaz Akber Aziz, Senator Mir Kabir Ahmed Muhammad Shahi and Senator Dr. Shehzad Waseem.