QUETTA, Aug 7: Pakistan Railways will start working on laying country’s first standard gauge railway line between Quetta and Zhob some time during the next two months.
This was stated by Balochistan Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani at a ceremony to lay the foundation of a highway section between Kuchlak-Khanozai and Muslim Bagh, on Monday.
Federal Minister for Communications Mohammad Shamim Siddiqui, Speaker Balochistan Assembly Jamal Shah Kakar and Chairman National Highway Authority Major General Farrukh Javed were present on the occasion.
The governor said that the Quetta-Zhob railway line would be constructed in line with international standards. The government had already approved the project, he added.
Referring to the Kuchlak-Khanozai-Muslim Bagh and Zhob-Kot Mithan Highway section, he said that the project, on completion, would reduce the distance between Quetta and Peshawar to 10 hours. The highway section would also play an important role in boosting trade and economic activities in the province, he added.
Mr Ghani said that work on Muslim-Bagh-Zhob section would start in November from the Zhob side while it would be extended up to Kot Mithan.
Lauding the performance of NHA, he said it was looking after 43 per cent of the national highways passing through Balochistan while 40 per cent of the NHA budget was being spending in the development of communication sector in the province.
“An amount of Rs40 billion is being spent on the construction of various highways in the province,” he said, adding that these projects would be completed in next three to four years.
The governor said a proper road network would enhance trade and economic activities in the province of Balochistan, which is an international trade route. Once completed, Gwadar port would also play a key role in speedy economic development of the province, he added.
He said the government was taking various steps for developing infrastructure in the province. The federal government had provided Rs200 million for introducing trickle irrigation system for conservation of water while President Musharraf had approved another Rs2.8 billion for the same project.
The government was making all-out efforts to protect the legitimate rights of the people of Balochistan, he said.