Pakistan Railways launches multiple new initiatives including new trains
LAHORE - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad Saturday said that four new passenger trains were in pipeline and announcement to this effect would soon be made to facilitate those areas where road network was not good.
Addressing a press conference after chairing several meetings about the railways here at the PR Headquarters, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would inaugurate 'Thal Express' train on February 12, besides the inauguration of tracking system in trains.
He said that 'Thal Express' train would run between Rawalpindi and Multan via Muzafargarh, Layyah, Bhakar, Kundian and Mianwali. "I will personally monitor the train and track on February 13," he added. He saluted the PR workers for their efforts to provide coaches for newly introduced trains.
The minister also informed that a new VVIP train 'Jinnah Express' between Lahore and Karachi, would be operative from March 30, whereas another VVIP train 'Sir Syed Express' train would also be introduced later. He said that five major railway stations of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Haiderabad and Rawalpindi would be renovated immediately.
Criticising the previous government, the minister said that former federal minister for planning Ahsan Iqbal wasted Rs 2 billion on the construction of Narowal and Okara like railway stations where income was lower than Rs 600,000 even, whereas not a single penny had been spent at Lahore and Karachi railway stations.
He announced that he would visit Karachi and Lahore on every week while PR's freight headquarters had been shifted to Karachi. He vowed that citizens would be able to enjoy world class facilities at railway stations and in trains within 2 to 3 months.
Sheikh Rashid said that divisional superintendents had been given authority to manage their respective divisions matters including land and traveling without tickets. He said that four freight trains would also be increased in the system and wished that he wanted to increase the number of freight trains from 8 to 20.
He said that a meeting on ML-1 had been scheduled for the next month and the masses would hear a good news about it, adding that a high level cabinet committee had also been constituted in this regard.
He said that ticket dodgers were causing Rs 60 million per week loss to the railways, however, the number of ticket-dodgers had been reduced due to strict policy by the department. The minister hinted at using helicopter for raids at trains to check ticket-dodgers.
He informed that three railways schools had been shutdown while tenders would be given soon for giving all railways hospitals and schools to the private parties to run.
He said that divisional superintendents had been directed to ensure cleanliness and greenery in their respective areas.