FAISALABAD / LAHORE: Chairman Pakistan Railways Javed Iqbal said on Thursday that salaries and pensions will be paid by November 4, before Eid.
Iqbal, General Manager Operation Saeed Akhtar and other railway authorities visited National Bank of Pakistan’s Mughalpura branch in Lahore.
The chairman said that pensioners had to deal with a lack of facilities adding that concerned authorities were considering increasing the number of banks or allowing debt or smart cards to reduce the difficulties of pensioners.
Iqbal said the number of banks will be increased until these proposals are not properly implemented. He said PR is neither being closed nor privatisation is being done adding that only four trains have been given to the private sector while they were also considering handing over luggage trains to the private sector too.
Pensioners protest in Faisalabad
Pakistan Railways (PR) pensioners staged a protest at Jail Road in Faisalabad for not receiving their pensions for the past five months.
A large number of pensioners gathered outside the bank on Thursday to receive their payments, but in vain. They protested against authorities and demanded immediate disbursement of funds.
The bank manager said pensioners had not been paid their pensions as the funds had not been transferred yet.
PR seems to be sinking in deeper crisis as pensions have still not been paid to retired employees. Protesters in Punjab and Sindh complained that the stoppage of pensions had added to their woes.
Earlier the PR received funds worth Rs2 billion from the Finance Ministry reported Express 24/7.
According to sources, the PR will use this fund to pay salaries and pensions to their staff and retired workers.
PR had given cheques of Rs366 million to the State Bank of Pakistan for the payment of the PR staff and pensioners.
According to General Manager Railways, Finance Minister Saeed Akhtar will provide Rs4 billion every month to PR to keep the rails on track.
This money will be used to buy oil, repair engines and payment of pensions.
On Tuesday, Railways chief accounts officer said they required Rs75 million to pay pensions to retired employees, with only Rs5.5 million given out so far. The official, Muhammad Akram, said Railways needed Rs2 billion from the government this week to pay salaries and pensions to its employees for the next month.
Then on Wednesday, seventy-year-old pensioner Mahmood Khan died while he waited in a queue to receive his overdue pension of Rs4,000.