ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed Thursday vowed to end corruption from Pakistan Railways (PR) as there would be zero tolerance policy against it.
Talking to media during his visit to Rawalpindi Railway Station he said, the reasons behind the financial crisis of PR would be inspected and a thorough investigation would be conducted.
He warned his ministry officials that he would not tolerate corruption and any political interference in the PR.
Mr Rasheed said the Railway authorities had been directed to increase the number of cargo trains and bring a visible change in the PR by adopting the latest technologies and innovative techniques.
He said the PR would be strengthened so that it becomes financially stable. The minister said he would announce on Saturday his plan to upgrade 31 railway stations across Pakistan. The railway stations of Margalla and Chaklala would be upgraded on a priority basis, he added.
He further said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet had zero tolerance policy towards corruption. “We will not tolerate one percent corruption in the railways departments,” he said.
He said he would work hard, 18 hours a day, to bring visible changes in Railways within the shortest possible time frame.
He informed that the Railways would build 5,000 small apartments like quarters for grade-4 employees, make all-out efforts to double the track from Peshawar to Lahore under China Pakistan Economic Corridor and plant trees on both sides of the railway track with fencing.
“We will make efforts for a straight track from Kalowal to Jhelum eliminating unnecessary curves of 56 kilometres with a view to reducing the travelling time between Rawalpindi and Lahore. We want to start new train for Bisal, Jand and Mianwali to facilitate the citizens,” he added.
“I have directed the divisional superintendent Rawalpindi Division to cut the expenditures and enhance the revenue,” said Rasheed.
He added, “The Railways have 20 to 25 acres land near Lohi Bher and its adjoining area and we will offer the private sector particularly the administration of the housing societies of the area to come forward for joint ventures with PR. They can construct commercial plazas, stations, food streets in the area.”
He further said, “We will also offer the private sector to construct rail plazas at eight railway stations.”
The department would strive hard to recover the railways land which had been grabbed by the mafia.
“I will double the number of freight trains,” the minister said, emphasising that no railway system could survive without a strong freight train system. I want to start trains from Karachi to Sukkur, Rawalpindi to Lahore and Rawalpindi to Mianwali.
The Railways will be opened for those who want to bring any kind of investment. If the overseas Pakistanis want to run the passenger trains or freight here, they will be welcomed to do so,” he said and also invited private companies to brand rail coaches with their product advertisements.
He informed that he has received an overwhelming response by the citizens on his invitation to the public to provide suggestions for the railway department’s improvement through social media.
He also said the public should hold the department accountable for each and every move if they witnessed any wrongdoing.
He also asked that people who had illegally occupied land belonging to PR should vacate it. “We will see what is to be done about into this matter in a meeting to be held on Saturday,” he maintained.
DS Railways, Rawalpindi Division Abdul Malik during the visit briefed the minister about the facilities available at the station for the passengers.