Saad hints at increasing 7-8 percent rail fares


Decides to penalise those spitting on Green Line train

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Tuesday hinted at increasing rail fares from 7 to 8 percent, following the new raise in fuel prices and financial crunch in the department.

Addressing a press conference here at Railways Headquarters, Khawaja Saad Rafique said that diesel bill of Pakistan Railways had already reached to Rs 38 billion and the department was not able to afford additional Rs 5 billion in the head of increased fuel prices announced by the government this weekend.

He said that railways was facing financial crunch due to floods which disturbed the budget, leaving damages of billions of rupees, adding that railways needed immediate financial injection of Rs 40 billion to meet pension and salaries shortfall and the federal government would be requested next week in this regard.

He further said that salaries of railway employees were being paid in five schedules on 1, 5, 10, 15 and 25 dates of every month while this month, adding that two schedules of 15 and 25 dates could not be followed.

However, Rs 930 million had been released while the remaining amount of Rs 310 million would be paid tomorrow to clear all salaries”, he added.

The minister said that railways was trying to find its own means of earning, agricultural land would be given on short term lease, hoping that branding initiative would also generate income in coming days.

He claimed that no one had bothered to fully read the Supreme Court’s order and some 2,600 shops along its network across the country were not leased. As a result of which, it caused a loss of millions to the railways.

He said that with the relaxation secured from the top court, tenders had been invited for leasing out these shops and he hoped that they would soon be given on rent.

Meanwhile, Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique Tuesday chaired a meeting to review the facilities and services in newly upgraded Green Line train.

The meeting decided to impose a fine on those who were found spitting and causing damage to Green Line train.

The authorities also decided to upgrade Karakoram Express on a pattern of Green Line Express.

The minister said that other trains would also be upgraded gradually.

During the meeting, a briefing was given on the auction of shops on railway land and direction was given to review the policy. The meeting was also briefed on salaries and payment of pension.

The meeting discussed in detail the impact of increased fuel prices on railways operational cost.

PM Shehbaz Sharif last week inaugurated the train and inspected passenger train equipped with recently imported Chinese bogies.

According to Pakistan Railways, the Green Line train after starting its journey from Margalla station will have stops at Rawalpindi, Chaklala, Lahore, Khanewal, Bahawalpur, Rohri, Hyderabad and Drug Road on the way. The train will be operated with new coaches imported from China recently.

The turnaround time of the Green Line is set at 22 hours which will be reduced gradually.