Pakistan govt approves CPEC’s $7.2bn strategic project

Islamabad: Pakistan Railways Mainline-I Project – the lone strategic project of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – cleared its first hurdle when the government approved it at a cost of $7.2 billion.

In the fourth bid, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has recommended $7.2 billion Mainline-I (ML-1) project to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) for further approval, the Ministry of Planning announced on Saturday.

A part of the Ministry of Planning, the CDWP is responsible for the scrutiny and approval of the development projects.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has authorized the CDWP to approve development schemes costing up to 10,000 million PKR.

Beyond this cost, the CDWP recommends the projects to the Ecnec for consideration and approval.

In total, the CDWP approved 13 projects worth 36.2 billion PKR and recommended five projects worth 1.3 trillion PKR to Ecnec for its consideration.

Pakistan gives high priority to the ML-1 project due to its strategic importance and the CDWP’s clearance will also pave the way for its inauguration by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit to Pakistan.

The ML-I project includes dualization and upgrading of 1,872 km railway track from Peshawar to Karachi and its big milestone for second phase of CPEC, tweeted Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, chairman of the CPEC Authority.

CPEC is a flagship $60 billion project of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.

The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.


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