Saad orders feasibility for linking FATA thru rail

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Lahore—Pakistan Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique Monday issued directions for preparing a feasibility report for linking Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Peshawar and Torkham through a railway line.
He was presiding over a meeting called to discuss linkages of Main Line-1, ML-2 and ML-3 held at the PR headquarters here. He urged the PR administration to take decision regarding the progress of the railways in hours instead of months.
The minister stressed the need for bringing FATA into the mainstream and said that the PR would play its role in this regard. He ordered for forming a strategy for an alternative route of Chaman-Spin Boldak to approach Afghanistan and Central Asia via Torkham by focusing on trade volume after the success of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The minister said some more countries, besides Chinese and Asian Development Bank, wanted joint ventures with the Pakistan Railways due to the incuymbent government’s policies.
Earlier, the PR CPEC team leader M Ashfaq Khatak told the minister in his briefing about initial design and survey that work on ML-1 (Karachi-Peshawar) was in progress which would be completed by the end of next month.
In another briefing, chief electrical engineer Ambreen Zaman said that 51 out of 260 coaches had been shifted from 110 volts to 220 volts so far. He said that rest of the 209 coaches would also be converted on 220 volts till June 2017.—APP