LAHORE: According to Pakistan Railways (PR) Chief Executive Officer Shahid Aziz, it will not be able to start civil work on the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project this year.
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But we can state that by the end of this year, “preparatory work related to approval of the project under CPEC, floating of tenders, bidding, award of the contract, etc. will start.”
An agreement between Pakistan and China would be reached in October, according to a claim made earlier this month by the former minister of railroads Khawaja Saad Rafique, and the project may begin in January 2024.
Mr. Aziz claims that once the ML-1 project has started, PR would like to start working on the ML-2 project (between Kotri and Attock).
At a Monday e-open court conducted at PR headquarters, Mr. Aziz responded to questions from the public by claiming that PR was underfunded in comparison to other nations’ rail systems.
He claimed that governments in industrialized nations spend ten times as much on railroads as they do in Pakistan, and he added that if the department received more budget, it could be handled more profitably.
Mr. Aziz also urged the government to address the problem of opening letters of credit for payments made in foreign currencies because it is having a negative impact on PR’s goods business.
“We are also trying our best to convince the government to take on the responsibility of paying pensions to retired PR employees, as it will decrease the financial burden on the department,” he said, adding that the department had also been having problems making sure that the salaries of its employees were paid on time.
He said that CCTV cameras had been set up at all of the nation’s major train stations due to the security situation.