ISLAMABAD: The government is seeking a $200 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a project to rehabilitate and dualise the 460-kilometre Lahore-Peshawar track, it was learnt on Saturday.

The project will involve installation of modern signalling and communication system between Peshawar and Rawalpindi.

The loan under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Railway Connectivity Investment Programme will help make the country’s railway transport system more efficient and competitive, the ADB said.

While ADB has ensured provision of $200m in its Country Operation Business Plan (COBP) for 2017-19, the government has yet not allocated funds for the project.

The loan under multi-tranche financing facility (MMF) will also finance the realignment of its 53-km section in hilly tract from Kaluwal and Pindora. At two locations in the hilly region, two tunnels have been proposed for realignment of approaching double tracks.

The project will also involve modernisation of IT-based accounting system of Pakistan Railways. The entire accounting data and information will be transformed and migrated into the new accounting system.

Railways offers unique advantages for transporting freight and passengers over long distances, however in the past three decades increasing competition from road transport has reduced railways market share.

As of 2016, railway accounts for 4 per cent of freight traffic and 6pc of passenger traffic with major shares taken by road.

As a result, the financial performance of Pakistan Railways has not generated enough resources for investing in asset replacement and capacity expansion, an ADB report points out.

Over the recent years, the operational performance of Pakistan Railways has markedly improved and helped avoid a total failure of the sector mainly owing to improved availability of functioning locomotives and railways’ well-thought-out marketing strategies.

Despite recent improvements, the railways sector is still needed to upgrade its infrastructure on a large-scale to provide more competitive transport services, regain the market share lost to roads, and ultimately rebalance the unbearably unbalanced modal share between rail and road.

The Asian Development Bank has already started preparing a 2040 strategic plan for Pakistan Railways, and in this regard a technical committee has already been formed which held its session in Lahore on Friday. A three-member ADB technical team attended the committee meeting.

Published in Dawn December 18th, 2016

Now you can follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Mianwali raid
02 Feb, 2023

Mianwali raid

IT is clear that the new wave of militancy is not likely to recede anytime soon. A day after the atrocious terrorist...
Corruption unlimited
02 Feb, 2023

Corruption unlimited

PAKISTAN’S consistent slide on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index over the last several...
Women police officers
02 Feb, 2023

Women police officers

IN a heartening development, a second female police officer has been appointed as DPO in Attock, weeks after the...
Road to perdition
Updated 01 Feb, 2023

Road to perdition

This is also the time of reckoning for those who sowed the seeds of a disastrous policy against militants.
Transport tragedies
01 Feb, 2023

Transport tragedies

TWO tragedies over the weekend illustrate the weak protocols governing the safety of transport in Pakistan. In fact,...
Disqualifying Jam Awais
01 Feb, 2023

Disqualifying Jam Awais

IT appears that there may be some kind of small punishment after all for PPP lawmaker Jam Awais, who was pardoned ...