ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s top economic body on Wednesday approved its costliest project to date as part of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement, giving the go-ahead for a $6.8 billion project to upgrade its railway lines, the government said.
CPEC has seen Beijing pledge over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan, central to China’s wider Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to develop land and sea trade routes in Asia and beyond.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the railway project, known as Mainline-1 (ML-1), on a cost-sharing basis between Islamabad and Beijing, Pakistan’s finance division said in a statement.
Under the project, Pakistan’s existing 2,655km railway tracks will be upgraded to allow trains to move up to 165km per hour – twice as fast as they currently do – while the line capacity will increase from 34 to over 150 trains each way per day.
“The execution of the project shall be in 3 packages and in order to avoid commitment charges, the loan amount for each package will be separately contracted.”
CPEC has come in for criticism from some western countries, particularly the United States, which says that the projects under it are not sufficiently transparent and will saddle Pakistan with the burden of expensive Chinese loans.
Both China and Pakistan have continuously downplayed such concerns over the years. The move ahead on ML-1, which has been on hold for years, will dispel notions that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan is seeking to roll back some of the mega projects that he himself had questioned when in opposition.
At $6.8 billion, the ML-1 project alone is almost equal to Pakistan’s entire development budget for fiscal 2020/21, which stands at 1.32 trillion Pakistani rupees ($7.9 billion).
($1 = 167.5000 Pakistani rupees)
Reporting by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Hugh Lawson
- CDWP approves Rs133b worth of projects
- China may agree on sustainable financial aid for Belt & Road Initiative projects
- World Bank approves $1bn COVID-19 aid for India
- Coronavirus | World Bank approves $1 billion emergency funds for India to tackle pandemic
- China allocates millions in COVID-19 research funding
- China’s Guangxi region tightens border controls amid rise in imported coronavirus cases
- 4 Ways China Gains from the Coronavirus Pandemic
- China sends medical aid to Pakistan to combat virus outbreak
- China sends medical aid to Pakistan to combat coronavirus outbreak
- World Bank approves initial $1.9 bln in emergency coronavirus funds
- Coronavirus: World Bank approves 1 billion USD emergency funds for India
- Gautam Gambhir slams Shahid Afridi as ex-Pakistan cricketer claims 'India committing crimes against humanity in Kashmir'
- Pakistan records 2,700 coronavirus cases; Punjab crosses 1,000-mark
- Combating Covid-19: Pakistan announces troop deployment, shuts down borders
- COVID-19: World Bank approves $1 billion emergency funds for India
- China's coronavirus supplies are being rejected — how do we ensure quality in a pandemic?
- Pakistan stop Friday prayer congregations to avert virus spike
- British coronavirus patients CAN get promising blood therapy approved in the US because it was given the green light two weeks ago
- US coronavirus death toll doubles within three days as it soars to more than 4,000 and overtakes China's 3,300 fatal cases - with more than 40 percent of the fatalities coming from New York
- China goes on the rails to rival Panama canal
Pakistan approves most expensive China-aided project to date have 519 words, post on in.reuters.com at August 5, 2020. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.