Pakistan Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad Saturday said that lower-grade employees of the department were a precious asset and their grades would be revised upward after approval from the cabinet and the prime minister.
Addressing a press conference at Pakistan Railways (PR) headquarters here on Saturday, he said that the approval would be obtained within first 100 days of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.
The minister said that the success of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision was the success of the nation.
He said that his vote was only for Imran Khan, adding the country could not afford the failure of Imran Khan as prime minister of the country.
He said that broad-gauge track was the major source of corruption in the railways.
Therefore, he added, the system would be converted to the international standard gauge.
He said that slogan of “Araam Haraam Hai” would be strongly implemented in the railways and hoped that people would see a change soon in the department.
Sheikh Rashid said that WiFi and tracking system would be installed with the help of PTI’s volunteers, who had contacted him for providing the railways their services.
He said that a One-Window Operation was being initiated for the parcels to facilitate citizens. The minister said that two new trains, including Rawalpindi-Kundian-Mianwali, Mianwali-Kundian-Rawalpindi and Lahore-Rawalpindi, Rawalpindi-Lahore would be inaugurated on September 15.
He said that it was his dream to reduce the distance between Lahore and Rawalpindi by lessening a distance of 56 kilometres from Pandora (Gujjar Khan) to Kallowal railway stations.
After straightening of the track, the running time of trains between the two cities, Lahore and Rawalpindi, would be reduced by an hour.
He said that in the first phase, all railway hospitals would be run on the basis of Public-Private partnership.
“The basic issue is freight and I will give priority to the freight sector,” he added.
He said that the railways funds issue would be taken up at the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Monday, and after an approval from the ECC, the case would be approved by the cabinet.
“Hopefully, by the end of one year, the railways will be uplifted,” he said.
The minister said that the case of Shalimar Hospital was being sent to National Accountability Bureau, as the case was about the railways land worth billions of rupees.
He asked all contract employees, hired against very high salaries, to quit the department by next Saturday with respect.
He said the case of officers, who had gone on long leave, would also be dealt with strictly.
He said electricity meters would also be installed on the houses of all railways employees, which would help the department save about Rs 2 to 3 billion annually.
The minister said that about 20,000 ghost pensioners had been detected and their pensions had been stopped.
He said that five railway stations would be given to the private partners on the basis of Public-Private Partnership for upgrading in the initial phase.
Sheikh Rashid invited overseas Pakistanis, media houses, channels and advertising agencies to utilize railway properties.
He said that a case of purchase of 59 locomotives on double price was being referred to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for initiating legal action against the culprits.
He said that 152 locomotives were awaiting repair; however, 38 locomotives were being repaired at workshops in the first phase.
“I want no locomotive in garage,” he added.
He said that biometric system would be installed in the railways to ensure hundred per cent attendance of the employees.
To a question, the minister said that no letter against the former minister Khwaja Saad Rafique had been written to NAB.
He said that eight cases were under process in NAB and four more cases were ready to be registered.
To another question, he said that the Chinese ambassador discussed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with him in a meeting and he had assured him of complete cooperation in completion of railways related projects. Chairman Railways, Javaid Anwar Boobak, CEO Aftab Akbar and other senior officers were also present.