RAWALPINDI/ ISLAMABAD - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Thursday said that Pakistan Railways (PR) with the help of China Railways would expand its existing network hence reaching to the remote parts of the country.

“We are all set to bring about a revolution in Railway sector with the help of China”, he said while talking to media persons after inspecting a newly furbished rake for the upcoming train to run between Rawalpindi and Minawali.

He said in clear and firm tone that CPEC project has all their support as no one is against this gigantic plan. He said that work on rail link between provincial capital of Balochistan – Quetta and the port city of Gawadar would be carried out with the aim to provide direct link between both the economically important stations. He said that efforts are in hand to make the train network financially viable by overcoming the current financial deficit of Rs 42b. On corruption in the maga organization, he said “We will work with zero tolerance approach in the sector and all those found involved in this menace would be brought to book.” If a few elements are involved in corrupt practice that does not translate that the entire organization is corrupt. He said with the help of existing hardworking and honest lot, efforts would be made to make the organization financially viable.

He pointed out that thousands of acres of PR land had been encroached. “We would appeal to the Prime Minister Imran Khan to consider this matter,” so that the encroached land be got vacated from the illegal occupancy.

He said that recommendations would be moved forward for the upgradation of the PR’s rolling stock with the major aim to provide respectable and inexpensive mode of transportation to the masses. He said that PR would improve the condition of the economy class coaches till the advent of next summer.

He said that he would personally keep raiding different trains from time to time with major aim to keep vigil on the performance of the passenger as well as the goods trains. He said that FWO had been contacted for construction of an alternate road between Rawalpindi and Islamabad besides doing away with the curves and turns on the track between Rawalpindi and Gujar Khan. The project for new road would be executed overhead the Nullah Leh thus providing fast and signal free link to the commuters between twin cities. Execution on the project of turn and curves, he said, the distance of about 40 kms would be reduced between Rawalpindi and Gujar Khan.

He said two new trains are being put on the rails shortly as the PR workers have refurbished their respective rakes within shortest possible time of 20 days. He announced cash reward of Rs 5000 for each of the 30 workers in recognition to their strenuous and laborious efforts for accomplishment of the project.

CHEC GM calls on Minister

General Manager China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Wang XiaoFeng Thursday called on Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad at Ministry of Railways.

Both the sides discussed matters of mutual cooperation and the minister asked General Manager of CHEC to give concrete proposals for the development of Pakistan Railways, said a press release issued here. “Pakistan and China are enjoying cordial relations and all good proposals from CHEC Company will be welcomed,” the minister added.

CHEC showed interest in working with Pakistan Railways at Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis for construction of Inland Container Depot (Dry Port) at Marshalling Yard Pipri (MYP), rehabilitation of railway lines in Karachi Port and MYP.

The company also showed interest in use of railway network to operate shuttle freight trains to transport containers between Karachi Port and Marshalling Yard Pipri. The meeting was also attended by Chairman Ministry of Railways Javed Anwar, Chief Executive Officer Aftab Akbar, Secretary Railway Board Farukh Taimur Ghilzai and Director General Technical Munawar Shah.