China’s state planner National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) has approved a CNY85.1bn ($12.86bn) high-speed rail project in the southwestern part of the country.
The project will connect Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, with the cities through to Chongqing municipality, Reuters reported citing an NDRC statement.
Overall, the project will involve the construction of 270-miles (432.4km) of railway.
The step comes days after China began construction work on a major railway link in Tibet that will connect Sichuan province with Nyingchi. The project involves strategic importance as it will enable railway connectivity up to the Indian border amid ongoing tensions between the two neighbours.
According to Global Times, Chinese President Xi Jinping called the project a major step to support ‘economic and social development of the western region’, as well as ‘in safeguarding national unity’. The 1,011km-long Sichuan-Tibet Railway will connect Ya’an in Sichuan Province and Nyingchi in Tibet Autonomous Region in south-west China.
The project is anticipated to face construction challenges due to the rough terrain and complicated geological and climatic conditions in the region.