LAHORE: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad says economic condition of Pakistan Railways will be improved within one hundred twenty days, through effective and concrete measures.
He was talking to newsmen at Lahore Railway Station after chairing a session at Railway Headquarters and visiting its various parts. Sheikh Rashid Ahmad also said that promotion will be on merit, out of turn promotion will not be tolerated and action will be taken against such officers.
Moreover, he said our sole aim is to make department independent within 120 days, and for this purpose, officers will have to give overtime for further development. He said that railways’ deficit would be brought to nil by the end of current year.
He said that he had accepted the challenge to rehabilitate the railways under the vision of Imran Khan and improvement in the freight would be his target. He said that workers of the railways would be facilitated and twenty thousand studio apartments would be constructed for railway employees.
The minister informed that three elevators for disabled and old age citizens would be installed at the Lahore Railway Station and more elevators would be installed at big railway stations across the country in future. “I have asked the administration to purchase elevators even used ones on the guarantee of ten years,” he added.
He said that media and advertising companies would be invited to use railways prominent places for publicity and branding to generate more revenue. He said that online ticketing system would be improved in days to come.
Sheikh Rashid said that all those officers would be demoted who had got promotion illegally.
“Love with railways means love with Pakistan,” the minister said.
The Railways Minister said that he had suggested shifting the railways on standard gauge from Broad gauge under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and railways would be linked with Iran and Turkey. “Overseas Pakistanis are willing to invest in standard gauge,” he added.
The minister said that railways was bound to purchase locomotives on high prices due to broad gauge, adding that he wanted to eliminate this monopoly. He said that it was the slogan of Prime Minister to nil the debts on the country so he said that it was ordered to the railways administration to deal with other countries in their currencies instead of dollars.
He said the PR officers would work one hour extra every day in the headquarters and in the ministry office Islamabad and Saturday would not be holiday.
To a question, he said that schools and hospitals of the railways would be run on Public-Private Partnership basis. To another question, he said that he had directed the administration to support National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in all railway cases.
Responding a question about a joint candidate of the opposition for president, he said that it was good if the opposition brought a joint candidate.
He apologized for the inconvenience faced by the passengers on his arrival on Friday at Lahore railway station due to police attitude with the passengers.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Railways’ chief commercial manager in Lahore has asked for extended leave because he doesn’t want to work with Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid.
The manager, Hanif Gul, wrote a letter to the Railways chairperson, asking for 730 days of paid leave because he cannot work with the new minister.
In his letter, he said that Rashid is “extremely non-professional and ill-mannered”. “The minister is fully entitled to work with a team that shares his vision,” he wrote, asking to be granted leave. – NNI