China has reportedly agreed to reduce the cost of the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway track project in Pakistan from $9.8bn to $6.6bn. They will submit a modified design plan for the project by October 31. Pakistan’s Communications Secretary Khurram Agha and Railways Secretary Mazhar Ali Shah will travel to Beijing for a meeting on Monday to finalize the cost estimates and other matters. The agreement is expected to be formally announced during caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s visit to China on October 18. The two sides will also discuss four delayed projects during the meeting. These projects, including motorways and a railway track, will be processed through the Special Investment Facilitation Committee (SIFC). The caretaker government will work on bringing these projects to completion. The progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects was reviewed at a meeting on Friday, where the minister urged all ministries and divisions to speed up the work. It was also mentioned that six infrastructure projects under the CPEC’s early harvest scheme had been completed, and work on other sections was underway. The minister also emphasized the importance of expediting work on several special economic zones. The meeting also included a briefing on the upcoming Belt and Road Forum in China.
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