ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid on Tuesday informed the Senate that Pakistan Railways’ (PR) revenues had jumped to Rs 32 billion from Rs 18 billion during the last two years, showing 70% increase.
Replying to various supplementary questions during Question Hour on behalf of Minister for Railways, the minister said that railways revenue had not only been increased but losses were also significantly reduced.
A greater revenue target has been fixed for this financial year, he said and hoped that the target would be achieved.
To another question, Pervaiz Rashid told the House that number of passenger and freight trains had also been increased to meet the demand.
The minister said that PR had also reduced the fare of passenger trains adding that 30% reduction was made in fare on Eid to attract more passengers. He said that efforts were being made to revive lost glory of Pakistan Railways. The minister also sought lawmakers’ valuable guidance in this regard.
To a supplementary question, the minister said that freight trains were considered main sources of income and passenger trains were always subsided across the world to provide relief to travellers.
He said that 19,606 passengers travelled by Eid Special trains with earnings of Rs 19,550,000. Regarding Quetta and Zahedan train service, the minister said that work was being carried out on the project and soon, the service would be resumed.
To a supplementary question of Prof Sajid Mir, the minister said that the income of PR had increased manifold during the last two years while the losses witnessed sharp decrease. However, he said vigorous efforts were being made to turn PR into a profitable entity.
To a separate question, Pervaiz Rashid said that 16 railways stations were being upgraded: Karachi City, Karachi Cantt, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Okara, Raiwind, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Hassan Abdal, Nankana Sahib, Narowal, Peshawar and Quetta.
He said state-of-the-art facilities would be available to the passengers at these stations.
To a supplementary question, the minister said that Peshawar-Landi Kotal was a historic track and would be revived.
He said that rail, air, road and sea were important means of transportation and the government was equally paying attention to them.
He said that railway was also included in early harvest programme of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Under the programme, the existing tracks would be improved and made much faster and safe.
To a question, the minister said that branded and standard quality foods were being sold at railways stations at affordable rates. The PR has introduced a new Catering Policy where the sale of non-standard food and other items had been completely eliminated, he added.
He said that system of checking and monitoring has also been put in place to ensure the quality and prices of eatables being sold at stations.
Pervaiz Rashid said that no Loco Shed of PR was closed during the last regime.
He said that a new Diesel Electric Loco Shed at Lahore was established for preventative maintenance of newly inducted Chinese ZCU-20/30 DE locomotives.
To a supplementary question, he said that incidents of engine failure of passenger trains had been minimized and no such incident was reported recently.