LAHORE: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid on Saturday apologised to the nation over inconvenience caused by the derailment of a freight train near Rahim Yar Khan on April 2 which disturbed the schedule of other trains.
Addressing a press conference at the Pakistan Railways (PR) headquarters here, the minister informed that he had dissolved the investigation committee formed to probe into the incident and a new committee would investigate the matter under the supervision of PR Chairman Sikandar Sultan Raja.
He said that despite the disturbed schedule, passenger occupancy in the trains had not been reduced and trains were running with over 80 per cent occupancy.
He said that there was no shortage of coaches in the railways and 200 more upgraded passenger coaches would be inducted in the system within the one month, adding that railway workers were speedily working on this task whereas, an air-conditioned coach would be attached with Rehman Baba Express train, running between Karachi and Peshawar, to facilitate the passengers.
He also announced a reduction in fare for children for Jinnah Express, making the new fare Rs3000 for one child while the operation of a new saloon for rich people was also under consideration as a means of generating mroe revenue.
Rashid also informed that the railways had successfully won the transportation of oil of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) which he said would generate a good amount of revenue.
He said that the tracking system would be installed in track machinery as well as in the locomotives for better monitoring of these machines.
Discussing the upgradation of Main Line-1 project under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he hoped the agreement would be signed between Pakistan and China during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China on April 27, adding that the agreement would prove to be a revolution in the Pakistan Railways. “We spent billions of rupees on roads but not a single penny was spent on a railway track during the previous governments,” he added.
He alleged that previous rulers purchased machinery in billion of rupees and all of the machinery failed during a trial and claimed that the railways had saved about fuel worth Rs1.5 million during the last six months under his supervision.
To a question, he said that about 11 locomotives were standby at the moment so, the perception was wrong that the railways rolling stock had been finished.
To another question, he said that the Sharif family posed themselves as brave, adding that they should face the courts and institutions if they were brave and presented themselves for accountability of looted money.
“They are trying to protect looted money and want NRO,” he said and added that London was their weakness.
About Royal Palm case, he said that the Royal Palm administration had not deposited any amount to the railways since 2013 and running the hotel, cinema and marriage halls without paying any tax even, adding that the Supreme Court (SC) had promised that it would give a verdict on the matter on April 11.
He concluded by warning the officers of Pakistan Railways to work delicately, otherwise, he said, they would not be tolerated.