RAWALPINDI: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the government would lay foundation stone of Lai Expressway soon as all the arrangements were being finalized to start construction work of the much awaited project as soon as possible.
Talking to media persons here during his visit to Mother and Child Hospital he said the work was accelerated by the incumbent government to kick off Lai Expressway project but due to negligence of the former rulers, cost of the project had jumped to Rs 80 billion which was around Rs 18 billion when conceived. The project would be constructed on Build-Operate-Transfer basis, he added.
He said that the expressway would start from the Soan Bridge instead of Ammar Chowk in Chaklala to facilitate maximum population, adding the project would change fate of the citizens particularly living along the Lai Nullah as the citizens would be allowed to construct commercial buildings along the road.
He further said the construction work of Rawalpindi Mother and Child Hospital project would be started soon and it would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan . Three hostels would also be constructed in the hospital, he said adding, the government would establish a nursing training college for 1000 female students.
“We want to construct another hospital in the city as there is shortage of hospitals in the city. We are trying to select suitable land for the project,” he said.
The minister informed that the contract of Mother and Child Hospital project had been awarded and its work orders had also been issued.
He said that he would monitor the construction work and efforts would be made to complete the project within shortest possible time-frame.
Sheikh Rashid said the cost and other matters pertaining to up-gradation of ML-1 from Karachi to Peshawar will be finalized on Wednesday.
The up-gradation of 1700 kilometers long ML-1 track would change the entire look of Pakistan Railways and bring economic revolution in the country. The Prime
Minister Imran Khan would decide about the mode of investment on ML-1, he added.
With the up-gradation of the track, the minimum speed of trains would be 160 km per hour and Lahore to Karachi route would be covered in eight hours, he said.
The Minister said that Jinnah Express would be inaugurated by the Prime Minister on March 30.
Pakistan Railways was also going to kick off a project to renovate, different railway stations, he said adding, Rs 50 million would be spent for renovation of Lahore Railways Station, Rs 50 million for Karachi and Rs 70 million for Hyderabad Railway Station.
Sheikh Rashid said they were also giving priority to the freight service in order to enhance revenue of the department.
The minister said work was underway to run two VIP trains, the Jinnah and Sir Syed Express which would be launched soon. These trains would facilitate the traders, industrialists, exporters and foreigners.
He informed that the Railway authorities had been directed to increase the number of cargo trains and bring a visible change in the PRs by adopting the latest technologies and innovative techniques. He said that the PRs would be strengthened so that it becomes financially stable.
He said there was no political future of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party as their politics of loot and plunder had been exposed before the nation.