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November 2, 2018

Railways collects Rs0.25m from passengers for dams

Peshawar

November 2, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Railways Peshawar Division has collected Rs257,000 from passengers for the Prime Minister-Chief Justice Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund by charging them in tickets in one month, an official said.

The Pakistan Railways included dam charges in the passengers’ fares to collect money for the fund.

Commercial Officer, Pakistan Railways Peshawar Division, Muhammad Siddiq, said the money would be deposited in the fund for the two dams. He said that the department had started charging Rs1 on the economy class ticket per 100 kilometers. He added that the fare for air-conditioned sleeper coaches was increased by up to Rs10.

Muhammad Siddiq said the Railways officers donated two days while other employees gave one day salary to the fund.

Another official said the Peshawar railways station had collected Rs35,557 from passengers on account of dams’ fund in one month. He said the Railways Ministry has issued a notification to the Railways Headquarters for collecting the extra charges from the passengers.

“The Railways is facing billion of rupees losses and our minister, instead of arranging stationary and other related facilities and items at the railways’ offices is interested to get publicity by collecting money from poor Railways passengers and donating it in the fund,” said another employee who wanted to remain anonymous.

A passenger Noor Zaman was not happy with the inclusion of dam charges in the train fares. He pointed out that mostly poor people used the train for travel as they cannot afford the bus and airplane tickets and charging extra fare from them was unjust. “The Railways authorities are collecting money from the poor passengers instead of donating their own money,” he added.

Gul Rehman, another passenger, said though there was a need for constructing new water reservoirs but charging the passengers for the dams was inappropriate. “It is strange that the Railways officials are collecting money from passengers in rail tickets to deposit it in the dams fund to claim credit. The authorities should have set up a donation camp or installed boxes at railways stations and offices so that those who wanted to donate willingly would give donations. By including the tax in the tickets, the passengers are left with no choice but to pay the money to the fund,” he argued. He said it was unclear if the Railways would stop charging extra money for this fund from passengers or it would continue indefinitely.

However, Station Superintendent Shoaib Khattak said the Railways officers have also donated two days salary to the dam funds while other employees gave one day salary.

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