Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said that train operations were not being restored from May 10 due to lack of support from the provinces. In a video statement on Thursday, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had kept the matter of restoration of trains under consideration for more two to three days as a democratic prime minister.
‘I wish that train operations are restored before Eid as train service is a vehicle of the poor class,’ he said. The minister said that in case of permission from the prime minister, train service would be restarted with all possible protective measures, according to the standard operating procedures (SOPs), devised by the government.
To a question about the accident free rail service, he said ML-1 new track system for railways, was the only hope for this country. He vowed that with the financial assistance of the foreign funding and Chinese help, the project would be accomplished in next five years. Expressing his strong desire regarding completion of the task, he said Nullah Lai and ML-1, was the dream of his life, and that must be fulfilled before the next general elections.
To another question about resumption of rail service, he said a limited number of rail cars would be operational in couple of days and for this, all the staff working at stations and the passengers would follow the standard operating procedure (SoPs) to protect themselves from the deadly virus. Commenting on lifting lockdown in the country for providing relief to poor masses, he said the world had acknowledged the concept of smart lockdown and the leaders of many countries including Pakistan was moving towards that direction.
The minister said Pakistan was a poor country and that could not afford a complete shutter down. He said relaxation in lockdown period would help labor community and daily wage workers in finding jobs and earn their livelihood for their children with honor.
Separately, Pakistan Railways Police Lahore Inspector General Capt (retd) Arif Nawaz Khan has ordered the officials to ensure foolproof security measures for the expected restoration of train operations across the country.