Up-gradation of Jacobabad-Quetta railway track to increase traffic flow: Minister

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ISLAMABAD : Minister for Railways Saad Rafiqu on Wednesday informed the Senate’s Standing Committee on Railways that up-gradation of the railway track from Jacobabad to Quetta would increase traffic flow by 5 percent.

The trains had to run at very low speed and carry small loads as the track was hilly and the track improvement would help in utilization of their full capacity, he told the committee, which met here under the chairmanship of Senator Sardar Fateh Muhammad Muhammad Hassani to discuss the Railways issues.

The minister said the feasibility for up-gradation of the Jacobabad-Quettta section was in final stages and funds would be allocated in the next budget to acquire land. He said the Pakistan Railways was in process to acquire new locomotives to be used for freight transportation on the Jacobabad route.

He also informed the committee that up-gradation of M-1 at the cost of $8 billion was also in pipeline, which on completion would enhance speed of trains up to 165 km per hour. $8 billion loan would be acquired on mutually accepted terms and conditions. “We want an agreement with China beneficial to Pakistan,” he added.

A Pakistan Railways official told the committee that as a result of successful ongoing anti-encroachment operation being carried out since 2012 in six phases, the PR managed to retrieve 443.081 acres land from grabbers with the assistance of PR police and district administration. He said that in order to avoid accidents, signals and sirens designed by COMSATS would be installed at the unmanned crossings.

The official said the feasibility of linking Gwadar with Mastung via Basima 960 kms and Basima with Jacobabad through Khuzdar 3000 was in advance stage. The committee chairman took strong exception to the withdrawal of a summary for restoration of Railways land and asked the Punjab chief secretary to explain their position in next meeting.

The committee also directed for submission of an inquiry report conducted against the deputy coordination officer Bahwalpur, who had misused his authority while giving Railways land to DHA Bahawalur.

The committee also expressed disappointment over the non-payment of outstanding dues of PR by the Ministry of Finance despite commitment. Its chairman summoned the secretary finance to explain his position before the committee for not fulfilling the commitment.

Orignally published by NNI

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