CDWP approves projects for repair purchase of rail engines

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ISLAMABAD: In yet another effort to rehabilitate Pakistan Railways, the government has approved in principle four projects amounting to Rs30.4 billion for repair and purchase of locomotives.

The government also constituted various committees to address concerns over transparency in procurement process and capacity constraints of railway authorities while handling such mega projects, said an official of the Planning Commission while talking to The Express Tribune.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP), which met here on Wednesday with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haque in the chair, made these decisions.

CDWP has authority to approve projects up to Rs1 billion and the rest are recommended to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) for final approval.

Since the cost of railway projects was above Rs1 billion, CDWP sent these schemes to Ecnec, said the official.

CDWP had a large agenda of 68 schemes amounting to Rs262 billion. It considered only 32 projects worth Rs51.7 billion. The remaining schemes would be considered on March 21, said the official.

It is probably for the first time that CDWP thoroughly discussed all schemes before approval. Earlier, the body used to sanction dozens of schemes in one sitting without properly reviewing their economic potential.

Out of the 32 projects, CDWP sanctioned 20 schemes having total worth of Rs9.5 billion, while five projects of Rs35.5 billion were referred to Ecnec.

In a welcome development, the body deferred seven schemes costing Rs6.7 billion because of flaws in their working papers.

The official said CDWP cleared in principle all projects of Pakistan Railways. However, it constituted committees for proper implementation of its directives in order to ensure transparency and address lacunas in procurement process.

Earlier, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had ordered an inquiry into allegations of malfeasance in the procurement of 150 ‘tailor-made’ locomotives that were to be bought from a company based in the United States.

The official said the government wanted to revive the railways, but would keep an eye on the railway authorities and improve their working plans through the committees.

CDWP asked Ecnec to allow the railways to buy 50 diesel locomotives for Rs19.4 billion. The World Bank will provide a loan of Rs13.5 billion for the purpose.

CDWP also forwarded a Rs5.1 billion project for repair of 150 diesel electric locomotives. A Rs4.9 billion scheme was sent to Ecnec for mechanisation of track maintenance pilot project while a Rs1.1 billion project was recommended for a rail link from Chaman to Spin Boldak in Afghanistan.


Courtesy:   Tribune

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