Fare of passenger trains not to be increased: Saad Rafique

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Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Tuesday that fares of passenger trains were not being increased, keeping in view to facilitate travellers of low-income group.

Addressing a news conference at PR headquarters, he said fares of freight trains would be increased to 15 percent and 10 percent of Express trains. He said that when in past, he took over the charge of Pakistan Railways at that time the revenue of the department was Rs 18 billion and the deficit was of more than Rs 32 billion.

In 2018 when the PML-N government was ousted, the railway income had been increased from Rs 18 billion to Rs 50 billion and deficit was Rs 36.6 billion, he added. Saad Rafique said: “Now when he again came back the revenue of the department is Rs 53.35 billion while deficit has crossed Rs 37 billion and unfortunately deficit will further increase upto Rs 43 to 45 billion.” He said that during the tenure of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, the pace of revenue generation remained very slow while the deficit increased. He said that Railway Construction Pakistan (RAILCOP) was earning profit of Rs 400 million and last year it made a loss of Rs 9 million, adding that other companies of the department were also not in good form.

He further said that decisions had been made in the railways ministry by bypassing the PR headquarters, adding that incompetent persons were appointed. The Railways Minister said that Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) was the project of CPEC it was given to railways and added that previous ministers should tell what the progress was made on ML-1 project.

Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which was made by us, the previous government did nothing on it and just broke it and the cost had increased from 6.8 billion dollars to 9.8 billion dollars.

He said, “If we have not taken this burden and proceeded towards elections in that scenario no international financial institution was ready to hold talks with any caretaker government.”

Saad Rafique said when he was railways minister fares were reduced 18 to 20 times in five years but today the situation was different. Regarding ML-1, the SPV would be formed comprising professionals, adding that efforts were being made to bring down its estimate. Punctuality had improved but still some time was required to ensure further improvement he said.

Cleanliness arrangements would soon be restored as efforts were being made in this regard as well, he maintained.The Railways Minister said that regarding pension cases, a decision had been made that minister secretary and officers would have no privilege to break priority order and a committee would be formed so that any emergency related case could be tackled after proper evaluation. The ban on using railway land had caused huge fiscal loss to the department and the department had filed a review appeal in the Supreme Court in this regard, he added.