Faisalabad                  -            Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said Friday that present govt was not responsible for price hike in the country.

Inaugurating the Chishtian Logistic Coal Terminal at Faisalabad Dry Port here, the minister expressed concerns over price-hike and said that incumbent government was not responsible for it. The previous government put unbearable burden on the national economy by acquiring huge loans and the PTI-led coalition government had no other option but to repay those loans. He promised that no increase in prices of flour and ghee would be allowed, though sugar rate may increase according to the market forces.

The minister said that the Coronavirus was a cause of sluggish global economic growth and, “We are trying to save Pakistan Railways from its ill impact.” He promised to review withdrawal of insurance fee recovered from each passenger at the time of sale of ticket.

Responding to a question, he said that it might be a “deal” or “dheel” (relaxation), but it is confirmed that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) are not in a position to launch any movement against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

He said that Nawaz Sharif would not come back to Pakistan, but he could not say anything about Shehbaz Sharif at this stage.

Sh Rashid also condemned the killing of Muslims in India and said that it had exposed the so-called largest democracy of the world. He said that the recent incidents would sow seeds of hatred among Muslims and the Hindu community which might create 1947-like situation again. He said that the impact of the incidents could not be restricted to India only as it would disrupt cordial relations between Muslims and Indians living in other countries of the world.

The India has violated international law through annexation of disputed valley of Kashmir. He said that international community must intervene and force India to implement UN Resolution by giving fundamental right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir.

Sh Rashid said Pakistan Railways had declared 2020 as the Freight Year to make the department profitable and play its role in making the national economy strong.

He said that the terminal would generate revenue of Rs 10 million in addition to helping smooth unloading of coal for the coal-fired power houses of the region.

He said that under the new arrangement, 125 tonnes of coal would be unloaded within a period of only 25 minutes and the time could further be reduced to 15 minutes on the later stages.

The minister said that five terminals would be established in different parts of the country which would also facilitate availability of coal to the power houses in addition to catering to the needs of the private sector. He said that freight is the only unexploited sector which could make Pakistan Railways a profit-earning entity.

He said that a dedicated freight train had already been operating for Faisalabad while its number could be increased keeping in view demand of the local industrialists and coal importers.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib said that the incumbent government was making sincere efforts to bridge the deficit of state-owned entity. Pakistan Railways was making loss of Rs 40 billion when the PTI government came to power. “We made sincere efforts and by plugging the loopholes of corruption we succeeded in lessening Rs 4 billion loss in Railways deficit,” he added. He said that Railway was the cheapest and safest mode of communication and efforts were under way to make the department profitable.

The meeting was also addressing by Chairman Railways Habibur Rehman Gilani, CEO Railways Dost Ali Leghari, Abdul Lateef CEO of Chishtian Logistic Coal Yard, Sheikh Mukhtar former Chairman Faisalabad Dry Port, Divisional Commissioner Faisalabad Ishrat Ali, officers of Pakistan railways, Faisalabad Dry Port and Faisalabad Model Custom Collectorate.