Rawalpindi: According to news reports, Pakistan Railways (PR) Chairman Dr Habibur Rehman Gilani said on Thursday (October 28) that the government is waiting for Chinese authorities to approve the start of the bidding process for the USD 6.8 billion Main Line-1 (ML-1) project.

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The ML-1 project, which will extend from Karachi to Peshawar, will take five years to complete. According to the Railways, the main challenge is the project’s estimated cost, which Pakistan estimates at USD 6.8 billion but Chinese firms estimate at USD 8 billion.

The Pakistani government has pushed the Chinese authorities to start the bidding process as soon as possible, and has stated that it is willing to alter the project’s PC-I if the implementation costs surpass 15%. In addition, Pakistan Railways Chairman Dr Habibur Rehman Gilani indicated that the government will soon sanction a PKR 30 billion project to renovate the 460-kilometer-long decaying rail route between Khanpur and Sukkur.

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The Project Concept-1 (PC-1) for the aforementioned project has already been filed to the authorities by the PR. The ML-1 project, which extends from Karachi to Peshawar and covers 1,700 kilometres, is one of the largest railroad infrastructure projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). During a recent Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting in October, the project was finally given the green light.

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