ISLAMABAD: The opposition members walked out of the Senate session in protest on Wednesday after Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said that land belonging to the Pakistan Railways was not anybody’s “father’s property”.
Members of the opposition bench protested the use of such a phrase by the railways minister.
During the session, the newly appointed railways minister said the ministry had 20,000 acres of land that was not in use. But, he added, they would leave it to the cabinet to decide whether the land should be sold or leased out.
Rasheed said land belonging to the Railway Ministry was not owned by anybody’s father, it belonged to the government, which should make decisions regarding the property. “[However] land mafia considers railway land as their father’s property.”
While talking about losses faced by the ministry, Rasheed said railways stood at a loss of Rs30 billion in 2013, which now went up to Rs41 billion, in 2018.
He said the total liabilities of Pakistan Railways remained Rs 82.899 billion during the financial year 2016-17.
Answering the question of Senator Mohsin Aziz, he said the total current liabilities of Pakistan Railways were Rs 12.415 billion, security and deposits’ liabilities were Rs 11.755 billion, while accrued liabilities were Rs 0.092 billion in 2016-17.
He said the Accounts of Pakistan Railways for Fiscal Year 2017-18 would be finalised by July 31, 2018.
At a news conference earlier, Rasheed said they would work on bringing down the expenses of the railway ministry. Speaking about his plans, the minister said they would curtail the expenses by 15%.
The railways minister added they will be auctioning off trains and wagons that have been standing stationery for the last 60 years, whereas 30 train stations will be upgraded.
Furthermore, he said two new trains will operate from September 15. He also promised to increase the freight by 20%.