An MOU was signed between RAILCOP, Railway Constructions Pakistan Limited, M/s Al Furqan Holdings (Private) Ltd and BIL Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd to construct a new 105kms rail track connecting Thar Coal Block-II with New Chorr station on the Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Rail link.
The project valued Euro 170 million will be executed under 100 percent foreign direct investment by Al Furqan Group UAE, the CEO RAILCOP, Syed Najam Saeed, said on the occasion of MOU signing ceremony.
Talking on the occasion, he said that the project will provide new rail link from Thar Coal Mines to National Railway Network for ensuring availability of indigenous Thar Lignite fuel throughout Pakistan.
It will give maximum coverage of all Thar Coal Mine Blocks and far-flung population centres in Tharparkar district, while avoiding any existing infrastructural relocations.
Saeed, re-affirmed the mission of Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, federal minister for railways, in transforming Pakistan Railways into a profit-generating entity with such PPP (public-private partnership) projects.
He also thanked Secretary/Chairman Railways, Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani, for his continuous support for the project. Furthermore, Pakistan Railways and on behalf of RAILCOP, Saeed extended special gratitude to Tauseef Zaman, CEO, BIL Pakistan (Private) Limited for his role in the project.
The CEO RAILCOP said that the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan is to attract FDI with attractive incentives and policies to the investors in a competitive business environment. Pakistan Railways extends its gratitude to Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its endeavours to attract foreign investment in the country. This particular investment was possible with the efforts of Faisal Abro, an officer of the Foreign Service of Pakistan, posted at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the OIC, who played an instrumental role in arranging this FDI of €170 million.
Shedding light on the project details, Saeed said that with every passing day, the necessity of Rail Link to connect Thar Coal mines with the existing railway system is gaining priority and urgency.
All the relevant authorities and stakeholders are preferring and urging to adopt rail as a primary mode of transportation for Thar coal as compared to highway mode. This new rail link would be helpful in the coal-driven energy projects executed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The project will create thousands of jobs, will boost investment in other associated projects, enhance export of coal and will have positive impact of macro-economic indicators.
The story was originally published in Business Recorder on December 22, 2021.