PR facing Rs40b deficit: Rashid

The News

LAHORE : Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid has launched inquiries against the deputy superintendent operations, divisional traffic manager and deputy chief Controller of railways while suspending them from office on accusations of misinformation and corruption.
During a press meet at Railways’ Headquarter, he said corruption would not be tolerated and the employees involved in corruption would be handed over to National Accountability Bureau.
Full co-operation would be provided to the anti-graft watchdog in this regard, he added.
He said he would directly monitor the freight and advertisement. He invited all the telcos to do branding on the coaches and 14,000 bridges. “Any person who faces any kind of problem during their journey or at a station should report that to me directly”, he said. “Passenger trains are not problem; We will focus the freight trains”, he said.
“Neither any official nor he will take VIP protocol from now on”, he said.
He said the department was facing a deficit of Rs 40 billion and the ministry had planned to earn profit by renting out all rest houses to end the deficit. He said the government was committed to eliminating corruption from Railways.
He announced that 32 railway stations would be upgraded across the country and the double track would be laid from Peshawar to Lahore. “We are inviting all the private companies to come and do a public-private partnership with us.
We are ready to give our hospitals and education centres so they can perform better. We say no to privatisation. We will plant trees on both sides of the track across the country to secure the track and to continue the initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan to make Pakistan green”, he said.
He asked the people who had illegally occupied the land of Pakistan Railways to vacate it, and the issue would be discussed in the next cabinet meeting.
He also announced that 5,000 houses would be built for grade 4 to grate 8 railway employees.
And the numbers of houses can be increased by 10,000. We will be shifting the pension budget to the federal government. He said, “We will cut the expenditures to 15 per cent and increase the freight by 20 per cent this year. All the officers will send a daily freight report to me directly. Wifi and trackers would be installed on all the trains till September 25 so the passengers can monitor the train and their loved ones get the idea of their route during their journey. We are inviting all the private companies and firms and overseas Pakistanis to come and do business with us.”
Meanwhile, former Railway Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique gave a strong reaction to the press conference of incumbent Railways minister and said, “Statements should be given after a detailed study of the performance of five years. I have been tolerating the unnecessary bashing for days now.
The deficit of Rs 32 billion was gifted to us by the previous government. We worked hard and decreased it to Rs 27 billion. All matters regarding this fiscal year had already been taken care of by us, including budgeting, development and operations. Shifting the pension budget to federal government will not cut off the deficit. Pakistan is not in a position of adventures. No one can say that there is no development in the freight section. We have increased it to 20 billion from 1.75 billion. They should appreciate the freight department instead of discouraging it. We are monitoring all the decisions of railways.”
He said the decision of privatisation of the hospitals and schools of railways was lamentable. He said “Commercial use of railways’ land will be discussed in Senate, National Assembly and parliamentary committees. We have worked for railways and increased its income to Rs 50 billion from Rs 18 billion.” He said, “If they cannot appreciate our work, they don’t have the right to criticise.”

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