LAHORE: Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Monday offered freight trains to private sector, saying that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) would be given preference in this regard.
In a meeting with business community here at the LCCI, the minister asked the Lahore Chamber to coordinate with Sialkot, Faisalabad and Multan Chambers to plan for freight trains operations from these cities to Karachi. It would be equally beneficial for economy, businesses and railways, he added. He said that the public-private partnership would help revive the railways.
He said that a number of trains were being outsourced, adding that under public-private partnership, the highest bid of Rs 1.80 billion had been given for Shalimar Express and Pakistan Railways would get 1.14 billion more as compared to previous agreement for the same train.
“Pakistan Railways is now free of mafia and political influence, as nepotism, corruption and undue favour destroy the national institutions. The best leadership has been developed that is playing a crucial role in uplift of this national strategic asset,” Khawaja Saad added.
He said that revenue of Pakistan Railways has considerably increased and it earned Rs 36.58 billion during the year 2015-16, compared with the fixed target of Rs 32 billion. He said that Pakistan Railways had planned to manufacturer electric diesel locomotives at Pakistan Locomotives Factory.
He said that special attention was being given to the land management, and the land record was being computerised. He said that Railways could expand its operations up to Iran, while Gwadar would be attached with the national railways system.
LCCI President Abdul Basit said on the occasion that in the recent past, Pakistan Railways had reached on the verge of collapse. But, it is a good omen that now situation has totally changed. However, he added, still a lot of work has to be done.
He said that railway tracks should be revamped to enhance average speed of trains while Central Traffic Control System should also be upgraded to get rid of any untoward incidents. Abdul Basit said that Public-Private Partnership could help resolve issues being faced by the Pakistan Railways. Therefore, it should outsource its maximum operations like in various other countries.
Story first published: 13th March 2017