NOWSHERA, Jan 10 (APP):Federal Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed here on Friday said that Azakhel-Pirpai Dry Port was a state-of-the art project that would help bolster trade and business activities between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (CARs). He said the dry port would provide freight and logistic services swiftly to people besides making Khyber Pakthunkhwa especially Peshawar a hub of trade, business and investment.

Addressing inauguration ceremony of newly constructed modern Azakhel-Pirpai Dry Port which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Minister said this important project has been completely overlooked in the past due to negative policies of the past corrupt rulers. He said this key project was planned in 2006 but could not be completed due to ill policies of the past successive regimes.

Sheikh Rashid said the PTI led government has accepted this challenge by expediting work on this much delayed project and has completed it in record one year time with an estimated cost of around Rs 510 million.

The dry port was established on 28 acres of land with a capacity to be extended on another 26 acres in future.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is a honest and competent leader and under his leadership, Pakistan would achieve new heights of success and progress among comity of nations”, the minister said.

He said Imran Khan is known for honesty in the world over and international community gives due importance to his statements on international issues.” He said private sector was being encouraged to make investment in passengers and freight trains services.

Sheikh Rashid said three trains with heavy freight and shipments goods could easily be loaded and unloaded on one time at the dry port before its transportation to different districts of Khyber Pakthunkhwa and trade purposes to Afghanistan.

The Minister said the government has started work on multifaceted reforms and projects to strengthen rails connectivity and punctuality of trains. He said the proposed 145 kilometers long Peshawar-Jalalabad Railways track would help accelerate business and trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan besides ending curse of smuggling.

Sheikh Rashid said Peshawar-Jalalabad track would change destiny of the people of Pakistan especially of Khyber Pakthunkhw and make Peshawar a hub of investment and trade. He said ML-I was a mega project that would strengthen rails network and generate employment opportunities for 100,000 laborers, youth and others work force. The Minister said railway has major share in CPEC but unfortunately, it did not get as much share as it has deserved. He said ML-I project was very important for Pakistan as existing Peshawar-Karachi track built in 1861 during colonial era has required complete refurbishment.

Due to prudent policies of PTI led government and overall improvement in railways system, he said the confidence of passengers was restored and Pakistan Railways has started earning from passengers trains service also.

Despite amendment in NAB ordinance, he said the plunders and looters of public wealth would not go cost free and be held accountability of their corruption and corrupt practices.

He said that the number of train passengers had been increased from seven million during PTI led government tenure during last 16 months which spoke the government’s peoples friendly policies.

Pakistan Railways had earned Rs10 billion last year and is expected to earn Rs 10-12 billion more next year, he said, adding the economy has started growing and stock exchange are moving forward.

The Minister said the government has adopted zero tolerance against encroachment and around 383 acres precious railways land has been freed from encroachers. The Railways Minister said a new innovative tracker system on trains were introduced to provide timely information to passengers through mobile services, saying it would enhance punctuality of trains and save time of passengers and their relatives.

Sheikh Rashid announced renaming of Azakhel dry port as Azakhel-Pirpai Dry Port on the request of Defense Minister Pervez Khattak. He said problems related lining of gas connections pipes under railways tracks would be addressed in a week subject to clearance of payment dues.

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