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November 11, 2018

Govt urged to resume export train cargo service


November 11, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Standing Committee of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) for Railways and Dry Port on Saturday urged Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid and trade ministry to resume export train cargo service from Peshawar to the port city of Karachi to enhance exports from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, chairman, Standing Committee of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) for Railways and Dry Port, said that various exports trade cargo trains including 012 down, 014 down, Goods-In-Transit to Afghanistan (GITA) train and other goods trains used to transport goods through the Peshawar Railways Station in the past.

He said that later the then government and railways suspended the train cargo services from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2008.

Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, who is also central vice-president of Pakistan Customs Agents Association, said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was producing precious stones like gemstones, marble, other handicraft, honey, furniture, herbals and carpet and used to transport these items through the export train cargo services to other provinces.

The province also manufactured matchsticks and there were several factories of matchsticks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he added.

Sarhadi said that matchsticks and other trade goods of the province were being transported through trucks after suspension of the train cargo services, due to which the Peshawar Dry Port has become dysfunctional and railways suffered huge losses on account of revenue.

“As a result of suspension of the cargo train services, thousands of clearing agents, forwarding, border agents, importers and exporters and other people associated with the business have also been rendered jobless,” he added.

Apart from this, Sarhadi said that 11 passenger trains including rail care, Thal Express, Awam Express, Taizro, Lahore Passengers, Babu Train, Abbasin, Chinab, Khushkhal Khan, Khyber Mail, and Quetta Express used to travel between Peshawar Railways Station and other parts of the country in 2008. “But now only four trains, Jaffar, Awam Express, Khushkhal Khan and Khyber Mail, are functional,” he added.

He said the cargo and passenger trains used to generate millions of rupees revenue for the railways and provided job services to thousands of people, which were lost after suspension of these services.

Sarhadi said that railway was a cheap and confortable travel service in the past and people would prefer to travel through this mode of travel.

“There were rail tickets booking agencies in all the cities across the country where people would go and obtain train tickets instead of going to railways stations for obtaining a ticket,” he recalled.

He said that some black sheep in the railways and a certain group of vested interest became active to get suspended the cargo and passengers train services and they succeeded in achieving their motive and got suspended these services, which was causing huge losses to Pakistan Railway.

Ziaul Haq Sarhadi called for resuming the train services to revive trade industry in the province and make the railways a profitable state entity once again.

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