PR intends to outsource freight trains as well: Saad

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APP34-08 LAHORE: April 08 – Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique talking to media persons during signing agreement for Shalimar Express at Railway Headquaters. APP photo by Ch. Mubarak Ali

LAHORE, April 8 (APP): Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad
Rafique said on Saturday besides passenger trains, Pakistan Railways (PR) intends to outsource freight trains as well.
He was talking to media at a signing ceremony for outsourcing of
Shalimar Express train to operate it under Public-Private Partnership
here at PR Headquarters, while Railways AGM (Traffic) Abdul Hameed Raazi and S. Jamil Shah from S. Jamil and Company signed the agreement of behalf of their respective sides. Railways Chief Executive Officer Javed Anwar and other high-ups were also present.
Khawaja Saad said the Railways is endeavoring to bring forth a BOT
(Built, Operate and Transfer) Model to man the unmanned level crossings and construction of railways underpasses, while another model is being worked out in collaboration with NESCOM and some military organizations for railways operational safety.
To a question, he said the PR is neither going to be privatized nor any
suggestion to this regard is under consideration.
Federal Minister said, Shalimar Express that has last year been paying Rs 660 million will now pay Rs 1.8 billion annually to Pakistan Railways. Though there was a space for extension in the previous agreement, the PR deemed it fit to go for new bidding for outsourcing of Shalimar Express. He clarified that quota and facilities for PR employees will be
available in the outsourced train.
Khawaja Saad said the PR is not only improving railways infrastructure,
safety and other installation but also upgrading its standard, and now the PR has been pulled out of difficult situation, arguing, the PR that had been giving annual revenue of Rs 18 billion would surpass Rs 40 billion figure by end this fiscal year and over Rs 50 billion in next financial year.
To a question, he mentioned when PML-N took over in 2013, PR had only eight locomotives for freight transportation which are now more than 90 and after three months, PR’s freight component will have 140 locomotives which will definitely increase railways income.
Pakistan Railways is preparing a model of 300 locomotives which will
cater to its need for seven to nine years, he said and added during next fiscal year, Pakistan railways will fully focus on its business plan.
Pakistan Railways has started coal supply to Sahiwal Coal Power Plant, he responded to a reporter’s query.
To a question about Royal Palm Country Club case, he said PR had
cancelled the agreement and apparently its possession is with railways however, the matter is in the court of law. And the court had constituted a finance committee that had not been working for the last few months, he said and asserted that monetary worth of PR’s Royal Palm Country Club is around Rs 10 to 12 billion and the department is receiving nothing from its income. He appealed to judiciary to decide the case as early as possible.
He also hoped the NAB (National Accountability Bureau) will ensure
recovery in the business train case.
Federal Minister said no defaulter company is allowed to participate in
the bidding process of trains’ outsourcing and the bidding winner company obeys the SOPs of Pakistan Railways, asserting the PR is receiving advance money in the outsourcing of trains.