HYDERABAD, Feb 16 (APP):Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Saturday announced a grant of Rs 82 million for repair, renovation and maintenance of Hyderabad Railway Station.
An advisory committee should be constituted under the supervision of Divisional Superintendent Railway Karachi comprising representatives of traders, industrialists and women as well as National Assembly members to finalize schemes for the station’s repair, he added.
Addressing a reception hosted in his honour by the Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, the minister said the committee should also recommend setting up separate air-conditioned waiting rooms for men and women, toilets and other facilities at the railway station.
He advised the HCCI office-bearers to have consultations with the Divisional Superintendent Railway Karachi for early formation of the advisory committee.
Sheikh Rashid said it was the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan which was bringing reforms in institutions like Railways to make them profitable.
On the contrary, the previous governments had usurped the rights of people and making their living conditions miserable by ruthlessly plundering the national exchequer, he added.
The minister said soon after taking charge of office, he initiated reforms in the Pakistan Railways. Twenty new trains had been on different routes in a short span of four months and now the department was making profit of Rs 2.3 billion.
He said heavy rush in passenger trains could be witnessed as a result of effective planning and the railway management had decided to expand the reservation period from one month to three months.
The minister said keeping in view the heavy rush, the government had planned to run 20 more passengers trains on different routes.
He said new trains running on different routes in Sindh were also earning profit, which was a clear message for those who were voted to power by the people but they had never provided facilities to them. The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan was fully committed to facilitate the people of Sindh, he added.
The minister said the Pakistan Railways would launch two more high speed non-stop trains, Jinnah Express and Sir Syed Express, having best facilities for travellers. Though the fare of air-conditioned express trains would be high, but the passengers would enjoy their comfortable journey, he added.
He said non-availability of coaches had restricted launching up and down railcar service from Hyderabad to Karachi. However, tenders had been floated for purchase of new coaches. Once sufficient coaches were available, the railcar would be on the track facilitating the people of two cities, he added.
He assured that when the bullet train, when launched, would also stop at Hyderabad.
About the HCCI’s demand for separate containers in freight trains for cargo service from Hyderabad, Sheikh Rashid announced to launch separate freight wagons from Hyderabad Railway Station under the HCCI management. The freight wagon would be made available to traders through the HCCI on deposit of 10-day advance payment, he added.
He said he had announced two freight wagons having 30 containers each to Karachi yesterday.
On the demand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA, the minister said efforts would be made to construct a standard platform with ramps and wheelchair facility for the disabled passengers at Hyderabad Railway Station.
About substandard meals being provided at platforms, Sheikh Rashid said the ministry was searching for qualified experienced companies for establishment of restaurants at the stations.
He said he had asked the Divisional Superintendent Railway Karachi for allocation of stalls at the platforms of Hyderabad Railway Station for sale of traditional Sindhi items.
About encroachment on railway land, Sheikh Rashid said he had given instructions to the Divisional Superintendent Railway to remove all encroachments with immediate effect.
The minister said job vacancies were being created by the ministry, which would be filled purely on merit.
Earlier, Chairman of HCCI Sub-Committee on Railway Ziauddin Qureshi briefed the minister about the problems being faced by the citizens of Hyderabad, particularly the business community, for reservation of tickets in the absence of seats quota for the city.
He also called for launching of a special train from Hyderabad to Karachi, besides activation of the railway advisory committee with representation of HCCI so that traders and industrialists could sort out their issues in consultation with the railway authorities.
He also demanded the construction of a railway overhead bridge between Tando Mir Mehmood and Tando Yousuf and dislocation of parking mafia from the main gate of Hyderabad Railway Station.
HCCI President Muhammad Saleem Shaikh presented a welcome address.
Earlier, on his arrival at the Hyderabad Railway Station, Sheikh Rashid was accorded a warm welcome by the people.