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India, Pak agree to restore Munnabao-Kokhrapar rail link

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
December 03, 2004 15:08 IST
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India and Pakistan on Friday agreed to begin the train service between Munnabao in Rajasthan and Kokhrapar in Pakistan's Sindh province, but failed to reach an understanding on any time-frame for the same.

"Both sides agreed to an early resumption of the rail links between Kokhrapar-Munnabao," said a joint statement issued at the end of the two-day talks between the railway officials of India and Pakistan.

"It was also agreed by the two sides to take necessary steps in the interim to undertake specific activities, including laying of railway tracks and other related infrastructure to operationalise the rail link," it said.

India has proposed to begin the service by September or October next year. But Pakistan officials said they needed
two years to get the infrastructure ready on their side.

Zaeem Choudhary, secretary, Pakistan Railways, who headed the country's delegation, told the media after the talks that Pakistan will have to change the 127-km rail track between Kokharapar and Mirphurkas, the nearest Pakistani town to Munnabao from narrow guage to broad guage to make it compatible with the Indian track.

Also, a 10 km new track will have to be laid between Mirphurkas and Munnabao, he said.

Pakistan needs Rs 2 billion to get the infrastructure ready, he said adding that he has already approached the Pakistan government for financial allocation.

The Indian delegation was headed by L R Thapar, additional member, Railway Board.


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K J M Varma in Islamabad