LAHORE, Saturday, January 25, 2020 (WNP): Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said the Main Line-I (ML-I) railway track will be extended by 154 km, from Peshawar to Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of a freight train at the newly restored dry port on Saturday, he said that completion of the ML-I project was the main objective of his life and he would resign soon after its completion.
He said the project was being completed in collaboration with China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative to improve railway connectivity between Peshawar, Lahore, and Karachi.
He said the track between Peshawar and Jalalabad would also be included in CPEC. He expressed his hope that Federal Minister Asad Umar would ensure early tenders for the ML-1 project. He warned that no one would be allowed to create hurdles in the implementation of the CPEC projects.
The minister said five dry ports at Chishtian, Kundian, Sheikhupura, Jiabagga, and Mughalpura would be made operational by March 1, which would increase economic activities in the country.
He asked importers and exporters to help run dry ports and promised that railway officers would cooperate with them in their businesses. He said railways development was important for any country’s economic progress.
Sh Rashid said the project would help create 100,000 jobs for the youth, adding that the project was crucial for the progress of the railway sector.
He thanked the country chief executive officer (CEO) of DP World, a terminal operator, for promising to provide 5,000 trackers for freight coaches, which would be helpful in tracking freight wagons.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit the PR headquarters to inaugurate modernised Command and Control system of the railways.
Pakistan Railways Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani, newly appointed PR Chief Executive Officer\Senior General Manager Dost Ali Leghari and PR Police IG Mushtaq Mehar were also present.
The minister said flour and sugar crises were real ones and he raised them in the cabinet meeting. Sh Rashid hoped that the country would pay off its loans in the next 10 years.
He said the country had to sign a $6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal under compulsion, due to which the entire nation is facing hardships.