NOWSHERA/MARDAN: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Sunday said that efforts were being made to improve the Pakistan Railways and turn it into a profit-earing entity.
Speaking at a press conference in Nowshera after inaugurating the Nowshera-Dargai Safari Train, he said that he had asked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to remove encroachment from the railway tracks so that new trains could be run to reduce the losses and generate more revenue.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan, provincial Minister for Tourism, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Mohammad Atif Khan and others welcomed him at the Railway Station.
Sheikh Rasheed said that all efforts were being made to turn the Railways into a profit-earning department. He said that rail was the cheapest mode of transportation for the people and the government would spare no effort to facilitate them.
The minister said that the country could make progress if the people had access to the basic amenities of life. Talking about the projects of his ministry, he said that the dysfunctional railroads would be operationalised and the obsolete ones replaced to increase the speed of the trains to cover long distances in short time.
“The trains running at between 50 to 60 kilometres per hour would be operated at a speed of 160 kilometres per hour to reduce the travel time,” he maintained. The minister said that work on the restoration of railway tracks was being carried out. He added that the ministry’s loans running into billions of rupees would be paid back through the rail fares.
Pakistan would progress under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said. He alleged that the past rulers had damaged national institutions by indulging in corrupt practices.
Meanwhile, addressing the workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) at the Mardan Railway Station, he disclosed that three new trains would be started in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “The KP government should remove encroachments from the railway tracks so that the new trains could be run smoothly,” he added.
He maintained that he had created 10,000 jobs in the Railway for which one million people had applied. The federal minister said the government would lay about 1,700 kilometres rail track in various parts of the country. He added that Finance Minister Asad Umar had directed the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) to provide fuel to the Pakistan Railways so that it could run the trains.
He informed that the Pakistan Railways would start train service from Dargai in Malakand to Karachi soon. Sheikh Rasheed could not talk to the media due to mismanagement and crowd of the PTI workers at the Mardan Railway Station. He had arrived in Mardan by train and later left for Takhtbhai by train. A large number of PTI workers were present at the Mardan Railway Station to welcome the minister.