Sibi-Harnai railway route to be opened in 3 months: Sheikh Rashid
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said steps would be taken to open Sibi-Harnai railway route in the next three months.
Responding to the calling attention notice of Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar here in the Senate, he said the Sibi-Harnai railway route was closed after militants blew up ten bridges in 2006.
He said, he requested chief minister of Balochistan that security should be provided for the railway route as without security the route could not be opened. One month renovation work was left on the 137 kilometres route, he added.
He told the Senate that his ministry reduced fare of trains, however the trains in Balochistan were running in losses while on the other hand, trains in other parts of the country had occupancy rate of 100 percent.
The minister said the number of freight trains would be increased from 10 to 20.
Two freight trains were given to private sector, he said adding that in 100 days, 20 trains were run on different routes.
Senator Usman said Sibi-Harnai route was started in 1882, adding Harnai was part of Sibi division and at present it was not connected with road and railway and people had to travel additional distance of more than 300 kilometers to reach Quetta.
He said Harnai had the biggest coal deposits of 100 million tonnes. In the past, two trains plied
from Harnai to Sibi and took away coals in 1000 wagons in a year. Harnai was also supplying sugarcane
and vegetables to other parts of the country. Now the trucks were charging Rs80,000 to Rs100,000 for carrying goods, increasing the business cost.
In the Balochistan assembly, he said a resolution was passed to repair the railway station and a tender for the project was given in 2016, but opening of the route was delayed.
Taxes were imposed in the Harnai area and the Balochistan government was spending billions of rupees on the security of the area, but the route was still closed, he said.