ML-I tenders to be called in 15 days, seek interest only from Chinese companies

LAHORE: International tenders for the Main Line-1 (ML-1) are likely to be invited within next 15 days, paving way for initiating civil work on Pakistan Railways’ mega project by January next year, a national daily reported on Thursday.

The tenders will however be limited to seeking interest of Chinese companies since the project will be funded and executed under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a senior official from Pakistan railways informed. “We are all set to float international tenders within next 15 days for the award of EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract for the execution of ML-1,” he said.

The construction of $6.8 billion ML-I project, which was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in its meeting in first week of August, is the first mega project of its kind in the history of railways. Under a proposal, the federal government plans to contribute 10 percent of the total cost of the project as its equity while 90 percent cost will be met by China under the CPEC.

Under a broader scope of work, the project would upgrade of ML-1 from Karachi to Peshawar and Taxila to Havelian and lay new track allowing 160km/per hour speed. It also includes the rehabilitation and construction of bridges, provision of modern signaling and telecom systems, replacing level crossings with underpasses/flyovers, fencing of track, establishment of dry port near Havelian, and upgrade of Walton Training Academy (Lahore). The project will create 24,000 direct and 150,000 indirect jobs for local labour/technical experts.

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