ISLAMABAD.: A Senate body was informed on Thursday that due to poor security situation track inspection in Balochistan could not be carried out during the last 15 years.
The startling revelation was made during the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Railways that met at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Junejo.
At the onset of the meeting, Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi demanded presentation of the report into the accident of Khushal Khan Khattak train and agreement reached with South Korea in the committee.
Twenty-one passengers were injured when seven coaches as well as the locomotive of Peshawar-bound Khushal Khan Khattak Express derailed in a hilly area between the Massan Railway Station and Sawan Bridge in Mianwali in September.
Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed brief the committee about departmental problems and different projects his ministry is going to undertake in the future.
The committee was further informed that the majority of accidents in the railways were caused primarily by defective locomotives and drivers who were mostly inexperienced and mentally unsound.
The minister for railways said that punctuality of top 20 passenger trains had reached 90% while of some trains, the efficiency was around 79%.
The minister claimed that people have started preferring to travel by trains due to the punctuality of trains.
The minister said that the new passenger train — Rahman Baba — will be launched on December 23 and installation of tracking system will also be functional on December 25.
“Pakistan Railways has started ten new passenger trains in the first 100 days of the government due to untiring efforts of the employees,” he added.
Rashid said keeping in view the efforts of railway employees, he had requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to grant up-gradation to the employees.
“Pakistan Railways has earned Rs100 million by selling tickets in a day,” he said, adding two new freight trains will also be started by the first week of January for generating more revenue.
The minister said that Pakistan Railways has generated Rs2 billion more revenue as compared to last three months of the year.
He said only 7% to 12% fares were increased for the passenger trains. He said Pakistan Railways will add two new freight trains and the first will be inaugurated on December 25 and the second in the first week of January.
He said Pakistan Railways suffered a loss of Rs2 billion by the removal of billboards on the directives of the Supreme Court as the value of one board was Rs1.4 million.
The minister said that present government had sent three cases of Pakistan Railways to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in first 100 days.
“Pakistan Railways is going to build a modern Railway Station in Rohri,” he said and added that a Shopping Mall will also be developed along the station.
Junejo directed officials of the Ministry of Railways to provide detailed report regarding punctuality of passenger and freight trains.
The meeting was attended by senators Kulsoom Parveen, Khanzada Khan, Gianchand, Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Brig (retd) John Kenneth Williams, Qurat ul Ain Marri, and other senior officials of the Ministry of Railways.
With additional input from APP