Railways’ deficit to reduce by fiscal year end: Saad

LAHORE, Jan 26 (APP): Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Sunday the department’s deficit would decrease by the end of current fiscal year.  Addressing a ‘meet the press’ at PR Headquarters here, he said the bureaucracy had started doing its work with dedication and officers even worked on holidays. Highlighting achievements of the Pakistan Railways (PR) since June 11, 2013, the minister said the PR would be able to successfully reduce its deficit despite excessive expenditure of Rs 3 billion on pensions, salaries and increased fuel prices.
He said the PR had earned Rs 3.43 billion more than the previous year with an income of Rs 12.87 billion during 200 days of the present government.
He said all corrupt officers had been removed and skilled and honest officers were deputed to run the Railways. “Not a single fresh appointment has been made except a transparently appointed director general public relations while director general legal will also be posted to activate the legal department,” he added.
He said the PR had been destroyed by former rulers through political interference. Freight was the most neglected sector as only one freight train was operational when the present government took over the charge. Now the present administration was operating four to five freight trains daily.
Saad said the Islamabad-Istanbul freight train would be restored soon and its linkage with India was also under consideration.
The minister said punctuality rate of trains was increased to 55 percent from 10 percent and there was still room for improvement.
Commenting on ex-Pakistan leave, he said a procedure had been develoved and no officer could go abroad without the permission of a technical committee. Several officers had returned from abroad and others would face legal action, he added.
He said 23 out of 58 locomotives would arrive from China by March, while the rest would reach here after August. “A latest workshop has been set up for their maintenance,” he added.
The minister said the PR was working on branding and it would soon earn billions of rupees through branding of several local and multinational companies. “Initially, three trains including Tezgam, Awam and Khaybermail express are going to be offered for branding on seat covers, internal walls of passenger coaches and toilets,” he added.
Additionally, he said, three railway stations including Lahore and Karachi were also being presented for branding and goods coaches were also under consideration for the same. (Courtesy: APP)