ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar said the government decided to hire international consultant for scrutinizing detailed engineering design of multibillion dollars Mainline (ML-1) project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Before granting final approval of the project, the government wants to accomplish its spadework free of any flaws, he said. The international consultant, he said, will also be assigned to gauge the capacity of Railways� management to operate this project after getting modernization of mainline from Peshawar to Karachi with massive investments of approximately $9.2 billion. “We have decided to hire international consultant to scrutinize detailed engineering design that has been accomplished recently. The execution on ML-1 project will start from the next financial year as the government wants to ensure front planning of multibillion dollar project without committing any flaws at this stage”, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar told The News in an exclusive talk at his ministerial office on Tuesday. In his first exclusive interaction with The News after assuming charge of Minister of Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar said that the Planning Commission had decided to grant approval of PC-1 of ML-1 after completion of detailed engineering design of the project. Now the detailed engineering design was completed, the government decided to hire international consultant with the mandate to gauge the capacity of operating modernized railway after making huge investments. He said the cost of modernising railway under ML-1 already went up by $1 billion from $8.2 billion to $9.2 billion so firm up at planning stage would help to execute this huge project. To another query regarding execution of ML-1 when the country was under the IMF programme, Asad Umar replied that the debt sustainability was ensured for execution of ML-1 project as the purpose of making flaw free plan was to convert this project commercially viable. The consultant, he said, would take four to five months to scrutinize ML-1 project in totality. After doing this spadework the PC-1 of ML-1 will be approved by different relevant forums, he added. The minister said that financing of ML-1 would be discussed with China after completion of all procedural requirements as well thought out planning at front stage would help to execute such an important project in smooth manner. Meanwhile, the sources said that China indicated to execute this project in EPC mode as they were not ready to undertake this project on BOT (Built-Operate and Transfer) basis. Punjab Transport Minister Jahanzeb Khan Khitchi on Tuesday said that Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) was the first transport project to be completed under the CPEC initiative. The train project symbolises Pak-China friendship, he said and added that it was a magnificent gift for Lahorites from the friendly country. It is not a project of any political party, but a project of the state for its people, he added. Jahanzeb Khitchi expressed these views while addressing the infrastructure completion ceremony of the OLMT project. He unveiled the inaugural plaque at Ali Town to formally open trial run of the metro train. The minister said that the project was a joint venture of the Punjab government and China, which was being completed for providing facilities to people of Lahore, adding that the OLMT was completely environment-friendly transport system. He said that the project was the first electric vehicle for Pakistan public sector. The train also holds the distinction of the first computer controlled train, he added. Khitchi said that the project would not only ease the volume of traffic on Multan Road but also reduce environmental pollution in the area. Orange Line Train project would be opened for the public as soon as possible, he said and added that construction work of roads around the Orange Line track would also be completed at the earliest. He said that Chinese engineers, transport department, mass transit authority and officials of the LDA working on the project deserve appreciation for completion of its infrastructure. Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Punjab Information & Culture Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan said that approximately 2,500,000 passengers would travel by the metro train daily. He said that an annual saving of Rs 15 billion was also expected under the head of passengers’ time of travel and vehicular operations. He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, in order to lessen problems of masses, felt its responsibility of completing the project on time. He said that with day-and-night efforts, the Orange Line train has run its full route on electricity and its trial run had been successfully completed. The minister said that it has happened for the first time in the country’s history that the government of the day, instead of halting a project of the previous government, completed it on time and set an example of political tolerance. Physical infrastructure of the project has been completed and now testing process of break, alignment, signal and other technical tests would be conducted after which train would become fully operational for the public. Punjab Energy Minister Dr Akhtar Malik, food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry, Advisor to CM Dr Salman Shah, Members of Assembly, Secretary Transport Asad-ur-Rehman Gillani, Managing Director Orange Line Metro Train Project Sibtain Fazal Haleem, Executive Deputy General Manager of Chinese NORINCO Company Wang Yunlin and other officials were also present.