LAHORE - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad Monday said 10 new passenger trains would be run in 100 days, besides putting 12 more trains on freight side.
The people would get a big news about launching of a new freight train during the current month, he said talking to media persons here.
He said the Pakistan Railways (PR) was making efforts to increase the number of passengers from 50 million to 70 million and freight trains from eight to twelve. Prime Minister Imran Khan would chair a committee meeting to take important decisions regarding the railways, he added.
About derailment of Khushhal Khan Express, he said AME Peshawar and Deputy CME (Carriage and Wagon) had been suspended, and warned that the divisional superintendents (DS) of strict action in case of not proper maintenance of tracks in their limits. “We have decided that the DS should be responsible for the tracks’ maintenance,” he said, adding officers showing negligence in their duties would be taken to task. The minister said the Pakistan Railways would recover its dues worth billions of rupees from the public and private persons / entities at the earliest.
The department, he said, was going to sign a contract with Saeed Soigal and Mr Yahya for transportation of another 50,000 tons of coal. This contract, which would be valid till 2021, would generate Rs 1.2 billion revenue per annum, he added.
He said the Pakistan Railways owned 15 oil depots to fuel its engines with an annual expenditure of Rs 14 billion, which would be enhanced to Rs 18 billion. The current management, however, had decided to carry out an immediate audit of all the oil depots and the Pakistan Railways would hopefully be able to save Rs 1 to 2 billion. Things would be cleared after the audit report and any officer or official found involved in corruption would be dismissed from the service, he added.
Sheikh Rasheed said process was underway to install defoggers and other related equipment on the trains within next two months, so as to carry more passengers and ensure smooth flow of railway traffic during foggy weather. “We have great support of overseas Pakistanis in this regard,” he added.
The minister said the PR wanted to outsource the marketing had invited the private sector for branding of railway stations . The department had also decided to make Tezgam Express up to the mark keeping in view its name of ‘Tezgam, in order to meet the passengers’ expectations. The minister said the department also wanted to develop industrial zones on its lands near railway stations, but it had not yet been able to manage resources for the purpose. However, the authorities concerned were pondering over the ways and means to materialize the plan, he added.
In addition to improving the broad-guage track, he said, the Pakistan Railways had also decided to lay a new track of standard guage from Karachi to Peshawar because the 120 km per hour ruts were no more effective for running the modern day trains. Prepaid electricity meters would be installed on all 70,000 residences of the railway staff, he added.
To a question, he said the previous government had awarded contract for the maintenance of 63 engines for Rs 4.5 billion while 10 engines of NLC also had an expenditure of Rs 50 million per month. “We are working on it as to how we can reduce our expenditure and enhance the profit.” The minister said the historic red dress of coolie (railway station porter) had been changed. A welfare organization was providing free-of-charge meal to them at Rawalpindi Railway Station and the department was contacting some other welfare organizations to the same at all other railways stations.
Since oil prices were shooting up, he said, awareness seminars would be arranged in all cities so as to highlight the government’s concept of fuel economy, which was need of the hour. - APP