PESHAWAR: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said on Saturday the political appointees and the employees unwilling to work would be sent home. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed me to throw out the political appointees and those who are unwilling to work,” he told reporters here.
He said that hundreds of employees, who had reached the age of superannuation, would be sacked in the first week of December as they had become a liability.
Sheikh Rashid said fresh appointments in the department would be made on merit.
The 100-day plan was being implemented in letter and spirit, he said, adding that nine out of 10 passenger train services have been launched under the plan.
The minister said the number of freight trains would be increased from eight to 12 by next March, adding, three more would be launched in the next fiscal year.
Sheikh Rashid said that Vigilance Department was abolished and 600 employees were sent back to their parent departments.
He said that encroachment from Railways land would be removed, adding that 5,000 houses were constructed on railways land. He maintained that politicians and other people had encroached upon Railways land.
The minister said 69 locomotives acquired in 2002 had been out of order since 2012 but nobody was bothered to get these engines repaired.
He said that five locomotives had been sent to Pakistan Locomotive Factory in Risalpur for repair.
A new double track of ML-1 from Karachi to Peshawar would be laid down, the minister said, adding, the new track would help increase the speed of trains.
He said the cost, duration and other details of the new double track would be finalised by December 25. Talks for ML-1 were being held with China and its details would be made public, he informed.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan will decide about the mode of investment of ML-1 as Russia and Germany have also expressed the desire to lay down the new tracks. But I would prefer to award the contract to Chinese company. However, the premier will have the final say on the matter,” he went on to add.
Sheikh Rashid said they were planning to reduce the 59 kilometres long curve in the mountains between Gujjar Khan and Jhelum by 19 kilometres as part of the ML-1 plan that would also reduce the travel time by an hour.
The Railways minister said that a new passenger train service for economy class named Rahman Baba Train would start from Peshawar to Karachi.
To a question, he said the track from Peshawar to Landikotal had been damaged and it could not be made operational.
“The portion of the track and other equipment worth Rs1.8 billion was washed away by the flash flood and the railway lacked funds to revamp the track,” he added.
The minister said a study has been started to lay down a new track from Peshawar to Shalman in Khyber district.
Responding to a query, he said the vehicles parked at the Peshawar Dry Port would be removed by December 30.
He said freight trains were the major source of revenue and he was committed to launching more freight trains to enhance revenue and reduce losses.
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