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New railway tracks in Balochistan Feasibility report to be completed

Pakistan Railways will complete feasibility report of new railways tracks planned in Balochistan under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for linking Gwadar with Quetta via Basima in one month. The study is at advance stages. Upon completion of the feasibility study, PC-Is will be prepared for approval from the competent forum. Various land parcels required for the implementation of said project have been identified under the aforesaid feasibility study. At present, acquisition of land at Gwadar is in progress.

Pakistan Railways will complete feasibility report of new railways tracks planned in Balochistan under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for linking Gwadar with Quetta via Basima in one month. This was revealed by Railways officials while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Railways, which met here with Senator Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hussani in the chair on Thursday.

The committee was given a detailed briefing on railways projects planned in Balochistan under the umbrella of CPEC for linking Gwadar with Mastung via Basima (960km) and Basima with Jacobabad through Khuzdar (300km). Linking Gwadar with Mastung (960km) and Basima with Jacobabad via Khuzdar (300km) is a long-term project envisaged for 2025-2030.

In this regard, a feasibility study of both the routes is being conducted. The study is at advance stages. Upon completion of the feasibility study, PC-Is will be prepared for approval from the competent forum.

Various land parcels required for the implementation of said project have been identified under the aforesaid feasibility study. At present, acquisition of land at Gwadar is in progress. In this regard, 285 acres of land for Railway Container Yard and 73.68 acres of land for right of way (ROW) have since been acquired under approved PC-I (Rs 1332.502 million). Approximately 200 acres of additional land for railway station and Container Yard, besides 27.350 acres for right of way (TOW) are being acquired under another PC-I (submitted to Ministry of Railways) for which Rs 5 million have been allocated by the Planning Commission during the current financial year 2017-18.

Regarding acquisition of land from Gwadar to Mastung via Basima and from Basima to Jacobabad via Khuzdar, a PC-I amounting tentatively to Rs 5 million is being submitted for approval by the Planning Commission and Rs 400 million have also been allocated during the current financial year 2017-18 for project activities.

It is further added that the existing railway line from Rohri to Kohi-Taftan via Quetta including the realignment of Sibi-Spezand section (1022 km) & rail link from Quetta to Kotla Jam (538km) is also being upgraded. This line is called as ML-III which will be used for exploitation of full capacity of Gwadar port and anticipated traffic from China after establishment of the CPEC.

The committee expressed concerns observing the Finance Ministry, which had given guarantee for paying Rs 13.4 billion on behalf of Etisalat on account of the railways land given to PTCL/Etisalat at Chaman, has not made the payment so far. The Finance Ministry had earlier committed that they would pay the outstanding amount after getting $800 million from Etisalat on account of PTCL privatization.

The committee directed secretary finance to attend the next meeting and brief about the mode of payment. The committee also discussed the issue of 34 acres of railways land transferred by DC in favour of DHA. The committee directed senior member of Revenue of Punjab to resolve the matter with the Railways on Monday next and in case of failure, the committee would take final decision.

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