Railways revenues likely to reach Rs 40 bln by June: NA told

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PR to change Railways Act, reform service structure

ISLAMABAD, Nov 29 (APP): Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique Tuesday expressed the hope that Pakistan Railways was likely to earn revenue of Rs 40 billion by June next year against the target of Rs 36 billion.

Replying to a motion moved by Naeema Kishwar in the National Assembly, the minister said the Pakistan Railways revenues had increased to Rs 32 billion till June this year from Rs 18 billion in 2013.

The revenue from freight trains, he said, had also increased, which would likely to touch Rs 16 billion by June next year.

“The government is continuously working on upgradation of Pakistan Railways to make it compatible with the railway system of developed countries,” he added.

He said the railway system would be upgraded in four cycles and great improvement in the system had been made in the first cycle.

The minister said punctuality of trains had increased to 80 from 20 per cent which was a higher rating as oil reserves were being maintained for 20 days.

Saad Rafique said railway workshops were running on full capacity and trains were being upgraded to facilitate the people.

The minister said train service on Sibbi-Khost-Harnai railway track would be started by the end of next year at the cost of Rs 3 billion.

The train service on Rawalpindi-Jand-Kohat section, he said, would be restored in six months.

The minister said a number of pieces of Railways’ lands had been vacated while efforts were underway to retrieve the rest still under illegal occupation.

Saad Rafique made it clear that Katchi Abadis (slums) on railway land would not be removed.

He said the Pakistan Railways was ready to give its land for the Karachi Circular Railway. The Railways’ land was being allotted for other purposes under a set policy and its violation would not be alllowed.

The minister said the provincial governments did not want to hand over the land to Pakistan Railways despite the order of the Supreme Court.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had handed over 90 per cent land to the Pakistan Railways while the other provinces were not cooperating in that regard.

“Unfortunately, in the past the stoppage of trains was made on political basis and the Pakistan Railways was badly ignored by the previous governments,” he added.

The minister categorically said he would not allocate even an inch of Railways land during his tenure.

Earlier taking part in the discussion on the motion, the members urged that the vast railway land should be vacated from illegal occupation and utilized for earning of revenue.

The lawmakers demanded restoration of different suspended railway trains for the benefit of passengers.

The members appreciated the efforts of Minister for Railways for bringing improvement in the performance of Pakistan Railways.