Game changer: Federal minister hopes CPEC transforms the economy

Saad Rafique says future of railways is as bright as ever

Our Correspondent May 30, 2017
Saad Rafique says future of railways is as bright as ever PHOTO: APP

LAHORE: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is not just a project of ten or twenty years, but rather it is a long-term scheme which aims to transform the economic scope of Pakistan, said Federal Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique.

He was speaking at a seminar on the future of Pakistan Railways and Logistics in light of CPEC. The event was held at the University of Management and Technology (UMT) on Monday.

The minister said when he took charge of Pakistan Railways (PR), the circumstances were so dire that there was no fuel to run the trains. “All railway stations were at the mercy of contractors who were looking after the system. Today, trains are on track with more passengers than ever.” He also boasted that e-ticketing and Wi-Fi facilities were among the key additions to the service.

Saad said despite the loss, fares had been reduced and this resulted in the generation of revenue. He added the government had provided life insurance for every traveller, adding this was a facility which even neighbouring India could not offer.

“Pakistan Railways is rapidly developing itself and despite the loss, we haven’t received a bailout package from the government in the last four years.”

The minister said the future of railways was bright because it remained a major source of revenue generation and tourism promotion.

“We’ve developed a team of dedicated and honest individuals who could bring great change if there was no political interference in their work,” he said. He emphasised on the need to work together for national development beyond political affiliation and personal interests.

He advised universities to start research and degree programmes on railways engineering, especially locomotive machinery, so that educated individuals take up positions at PR.

Speaking on the occasion, UMT Rector Dr Muhammad Aslam assured the federal minister that UMT would try its best to start training workshops as well as degree programmes on railways engineering.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2017.


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