ISLAMABAD: During the National Assembly session held on Friday, the matters related to allotment of plots to high-ranking public sector employees, ministers’ absence from NA sessions and the crippling financial condition of Pakistan Railways were discussed on the floor.
The Deputy Speaker of National Assembly, Zahid Akram Durrani, chaired the session in the absence of Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf.
In response to Mehreen Razzaq Bhutto’s question during the Question-Hour, Parliamentary Secretary Syed Mehmood Shah said that the former
premier Shaukat Aziz had approved the allotment of two plots to Grade-22 officers in 2006 but the High Court declared the decision illegal and some civil servants approached the Supreme Court.
Dr Mehreen Razzaq Bhutto demanded the question be handed over to the concerned committee for detailed consideration.
The deputy speaker referred the question to the relevant standing committee. Meanwhile, the parliamentary leader of the Grand Democratic Alliance, Ghous Baksh Meher, pointed out the frequent absence of relevant federal ministers from the lower house proceedings and added there was not a single minister on the floor as the first three rows were empty.
The deputy speaker said that the absence of ministers had already been noticed.
In a written reply to a question of Shamim Ara
Panhwar, the Ministry of Railways informed the National Assembly that the railway deficit stood at Rs35.31 billion during the period from April to October, 2022. The expenses remained at Rs69 billion as against the revenue of Rs33 billion. The railway ministry added that Rs75 billion were being given annually to as many as 125,000 pensioners.
The ministry said that the Pakistan Railways had been going into deficit since 1974 and it was regularly seeking help from the federal government to plug the resources gap.
Giving the details, the ministry said the salary and pension bill of around 64,000 employees and 125,000 pensioners was more than Rs75 billion per year. In addition, the railways is likely to spend Rs30 billion for purchasing High Speed Diesel (HSD) during the current financial year.
Besides, the railway ministry also informed the house about the steps being taken to improve the financial condition of the department, which includes introduction of RAABTA customer facilitation service, improvement of arrival and departure timings, online E-ticketing and resumption of Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul cargo train.
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