The Kyrgyz Government is studying the issue of constructing railways, which will connect not only Kashghar with Ferghana valley, but also Northern and Southern parts of Kyrgyzstan. Yesterday, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communication of Kyrgyzstan, Aizat Ajykeev, told RFE/RL that the main project consists of three stages:
“The first stage is construction of the international railway Kashgar-Torugart-Jalal-Abad to prepare favorable conditions for (the foreign) investors. It leads to Ferghana valley. The second stage is construction of a route between the Balykchy and Karakeche (mines). It is a distance of about 155 km. We already have a technical and economic project for that. This is an important priority for us to build a railway, which connects North and South. Balykchy-Karakeche part is about 183 km. The third stage, a railway between Karakeche (mines) and Arpa valley is about 155 km,” reported Ajykeev.
Some politicians while emphasizing the importance of the project still have reservations about the project. Kyrgyz lawmaker Orozbek Duisheev told RFE/RL today: “The railway will go through about 200 km of territory with severe conditions. Its price would be $4 million per km. The whole railway construction of 220 - 240 km will cost $600 - 700 million. It is hard to find so much money.”
Meanwhile, China has started its share of works on construction of the international railway China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan, which, according to some experts, will shorten the Chinese railway to Europe by more than 1,300 km. The Chinese are using the Russian Trans-Siberian railway now.
RFE/RL Kyrgyz News, May 05, 2003