By Saeed Ahmed
RAWALPINDI: Minister of Railways Sheikh Rashid announced on Monday his plan to upgrade 32 railways stations across Pakistan during his tenure.
Sheikh Rashid, who was sworn in as Railways Minister earlier in the day, said that the railway stations of Margalla and Chaklala will be upgraded on an urgent basis, reported Geo News on Monday.
The Awami Muslim League (AML) chief also put forth an ambitious plan to reform the Railways Department with salient features including building 5,000 quarters for department employees, generating 20,000 jobs, upgrading Railways’ hospitals and doubling the track with investment from China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and planting trees on both sides of the railway track. “We will also build plazas and food streets near railway stations,” he shared, adding that the department will make efforts to claim the railways land which has been grabbed by the mafia.
He further remarked that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet has taken a zero tolerance policy towards corruption. “We will not tolerate one percent corruption in the Railways Department,” he said while addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi.
He said that he did not want to become Railway Minister but now it is all right as he has been made Railways Minister.
He further added, “We have to improve the online booking system and introduce the e-ticketing system. We will do our best to improve the ride for the poor.”
Railway department has a debt of Rs37 billion, Sheikh Rasheed remarked, adding that he will work towards reducing this amount.
The retired railways’ employees get pensions worth Rs30 billion, he claimed. “I am a different Sheikh Rasheed, the nation will see,” he added.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday was briefed about Pakistan Railways at Ministry of Railways, Islamabad.
He asked to double the freight trains. The minister clearly mentioned that Carriage Factory, Islamabad shall be improved. The reason behind losses shall also be studied in detail. He said that no locomotive should be stopped.
He also inquired about Risalpur Locomotive Factory, sick locomotives and Quetta-Taftan section. He also asked to open Pakistan Railways for investment. He said that Sukkur would be given top priority.
The briefing as also attended by M Javed Anwar, Chairman, Ministry of Railways, Aftab Akbar, CEO Pakistan Railways, Raja Zaheer, SP Pakistan Railways Police, Farukh Taimur Ghilzai, Secretary Railway Board, Munawar Ali Shah, DG Technical and Maryam Gillani, DG Operations.