Economic development linked with vibrant Railway system: Sheikh Rashid

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From Business Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid yesterday highlighted the importance of Pakistan Railways (PR) in achieving robust economic growth. He said the development of national economy was linked with a strong railway system, meeting requirements of passengers and modern freight services.

Speaking at opening session of 21st Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), he said “Development of economy of a country was linked with the development of Railways. Railways was a cheaper mode of traveling and transportation of goods, he added.

He said under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the PR would upgrade its Karachi-Peshawar Main Line-1, stations and other strategic assets at a cost of $8.2 billion.

“We have brought down railway projects’ cost to $6.2 billion from $8.2 billion in the PC-1 and sent to the prime minister. It’s my desire to curtail it further to $4.2bn. I am the biggest supporter of the CPEC, but I also want that the railways should bear minimum burden,” he added.

He said completion period of the Main Line-2 would be a little longer. He said work on Main Line-1 would be completed within the period of the five years.

The Minister said a standard gauge track would be laid from Karachi to Peshawar, adding that the existing broad-gauge track would be rehabilitated and upgraded under the CPEC.

Sheikh Rashid said Quetta-Tuftan and Quetta-Gawadar railway tracks would be converted into standard gauge.

He said Pakistan Railway had set yet another record by generating revenue of Rs 60.55 million in a day (December 1) from sale of around 51,610 passenger tickets. Passenger tickets worth over Rs 20 million were sold through e-ticketing, he added.

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