Kh Saad offers freight trains to private sector

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LAHORE, Mar 13 (APP): Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Monday offered freight trains to private sector, saying that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) would be given preference in this regard.
In a meeting with business community here at the LCCI, the minister asked the Lahore Chamber to coordinate with Sialkot, Faisalabad and Multan Chambers to plan for freight trains operations from these cities to Karachi. It would be equally beneficial for economy, businesses and railways, he added.
He said that the public-private partnership would help revive the railways. He said that a number of trains were being outsourced, adding that under public-private partnership, the highest bid of Rs 1.80 billion had been given for Shalimar Express and Pakistan Railways would get 1.14 billion more as compared to previous agreement for the same train.
“Pakistan Railways is now free of mafia and political influence, as nepotism, corruption and undue favour destroy the national institutions. The best leadership has been developed that is playing a crucial role in uplift of this national strategic asset,” Khawaja Saad added.
He said that revenue of Pakistan Railways has considerably increased and it earned Rs 36.58 billion during the year 2015-16, compared with the fixed target of Rs 32 billion. He said that Pakistan Railways had planned to manufacturer electric diesel locomotives at Pakistan Locomotives Factory. He said that special attention was being given to the land management, and the land record was being computerised. He said that Railways could expand its operations up to Iran, while Gwadar would be attached with the national railways system.
LCCI President Abdul Basit said on the occasion that in the recent past, Pakistan Railways had reached on the verge of collapse. But, it is a good omen that now situation has totally changed. However, he added, still a lot of work has to be done.
He said that railway tracks should be revamped to enhance average speed of trains while Central Traffic Control System should also be upgraded to get rid of any untoward incidents.
Abdul Basit said that Public-Private Partnership could help resolve issues being faced by the Pakistan Railways. Therefore, it should outsource its maximum operations like in various other countries.
LCCI Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that Pakistan Railways is one of the largest institutions of the country as it is the most important source of passengers and industrial goods movement across the country.
They said that public-private partnership would improve railway infrastructure. Pakistan Railways should introduce state-of-the-art wagons which will not only enhance the profit of Pakistan Railways but will also reduce the time of goods movement.
Former LCCI presidents — Shahid Hassan Sheikh and Sohail Lashari, EC members Shahid Nazir, Mian Abdul Razzaq, Mian Muhammad Nawaz, Adnan Khalid Butt, Tariq Mahmood, Shahrukh Jamal, Javed Siddiqui, Mudassar Masood Chaudhry, along with Mian Waqar, Ashraf Bhatti, Tanvir Sheikh Khawaja Khawar, Talha Tayyab Butt, Ghulam Sarwar Malik and Mian Muhammad Muhammad Afzal were present.