LAHORE: Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that the Pakistan Railways (PR) is offering its stations and trains for advertisement to local and international companies.
Addressing a meeting with senior journalists, columnists and anchorpersons at the PR Headquarters on Saturday, he said, “Initially, three trains – Tezgam, Awam and Khyber Mail Express – are going to be offered for branding on seat covers, internal walls of passenger coaches and toilets as a pilot project.”
Additionally, he said, three railway stations, including those of Lahore and Karachi, were also being presented for branding, and goods coaches were also under consideration for it.
He said the PR deficit would decrease by the end of the current fiscal year. He said the PR bureaucracy had started doing its work with dedication and officers even worked on holidays.
Highlighting the achievements of the PR during the period between June 11, 2013, and December 31, 2013, the minister said it would be able to successfully reduce its deficit in the days to come despite extra expenditure of Rs 3 billion in the sectors of pensions, salaries and increasing fuel prices.
He said the PR had earned Rs 3.43 billion more than the previous year with an income of Rs 12.87 billion during the 200 days of the present government. All corrupt officers had been sacked and skilled and honest officers were deputed to run the department, he added.
He said not a single fresh appointment had been made during the last 200 days, except a transparently appointed director general of public relations. The PR had been destroyed by the former rulers through political interference, he claimed.
Saad said that freight was the most neglected sector in the past but the present administration was now operating four to five freight trains daily, while just one train was operational when the present government had taken over the charge.
The minister said the punctuality rate of trains had been raised to 55 per cent from 10 per cent and there was room for more improvement in it.
Commenting on ex-Pakistan leave, he said a procedure had been developed and now no officer could go abroad without the permission of the technical committee, adding that several officers had come back from abroad and others would have to face legal action.
He appreciated the PR Police inspector general for his efficiency and retrieving lands from encroachers, besides provision of security to trains.
The minister said a request had been forwarded to the government for increasing the salaries of the PR police staff, as they were getting very low salary.
He appealed to the high courts to take notice of one-sided stay orders by the lower courts without hearing the stance of the railways.
He urged all national institutions, including judiciary, to support the Pakistan Railways in its turnaround.
Saad said that payment of pensions was being automated and soon the PR pensioners would be able to draw their pension from their desired banks.
Acting PR Chairperson Parveen Agha, General Manager (Operations) Anjum Pervaiz, IG Ibne Hussain, AGM (Traffic) Javaid Anwar, AGM (Infrastructure) M Khalid and AGM (Mechanical) Rana Abrar Anwar were also present.
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