Rawalpindi: The federal and Punjab governments on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed Leh Expressway and Circular Railway Track between the twin cities (Islamabad and Rawalpindi), according to news sources.
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Capital Development Authority (CDA) Member Planning Dr Shahid Mehmood signed the MoU on the federal government’s behalf; while Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) Chief Engineer Amir Rasheed and Jia Huiqin represented the Punjab government and CCECC, respectively, during the proceedings.
The Chinese civil engineering firm will conduct the feasibility study for the intended train service between Islamabad and Rawalpindi located alongside Nullah Leh; with its route connecting the Soan River (Rawalpindi) to the Kashmir Highway (Islamabad). This preliminary report will include an assessment of the project’s technical, legal, commercial and financial viability and budget estimates – pegged in line with the requirements of the government bodies concerned. It will also explore various financing options for the initiative.
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Further, the CDA, RDA and CCECC will pool resources to see to the technical and financial aspects of the project’s implementation, while the Chinese firm will sign a contract with various civic bodies to carry outs its execution and maintenance.
A senior railways’ official, while commenting on the initiative, said that the CCECC would conduct this study with its own resources, while the CDA and RDA would provide the project’s details.
The study is expected to be completed within a timeframe of three months, following which a consultation meeting would be held to review the findings and prepare the project’s PC-I (based on a public-private partnership model).