LAHORE: Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that freight trains have been the most neglected sector in the past. Present administration is now operating four to five freight trains daily while just one train was operational when the present government had taken over the charge.
The Minister said that the punctuality rate of trains had been raised up to 55 per cent from 10 per cent and there was room for more improvement in it. Additionally, he said, three railway stations including Lahore and Karachi are also being presented for branding and goods coaches are also under consideration for it.
Commenting on ex-Pakistan leave, he said that a procedure had been developed and from now no officer could go abroad without the permission of the technical committee. He added that several officers had come back from abroad and others had to face legal action.
He appreciated the PR Inspector General Police for his efficiency and retrieving lands from encroachers and provision of security to trains. The minister said that a request had been forwarded to the government for raise in salaries of the PR police staff as they were getting very low salaries.
He appealed to the High Court to take notice of one-sided stay orders by lower courts without hearing the stance of the railways. He urged all national institutions including judiciary to support the railways in its turnaround.
Saad said that payments of pensions were being automated and soon PR pensioners would be able to draw their pension from their desired banks.
He said that the PR deficit would decrease by the end of the current fiscal year. He said that the PR bureaucracy had started doing its work with dedication and officers even worked on holidays.
Highlighting achievements of Pakistan Railways during the period from June 11, 2013 to December 31, 2014, the minister said it would be able to successfully reduce its deficit despite extra expenditure of Rs 3 billion in the sectors of pensions, salaries and increasing 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 the 200 days of the present government. All corrupt officers had been sacked and skilled and honest officers were deputed to run the department, he concluded.