ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways has called for detailed briefing over the postings made in the railways ministry, while a sub-committee has been constituted to oversee the matter of encroachments on the railway land.
The committee has also recommended providing technical allowance to engineers working in different departments of the railways.
Ministry of Railways Secretary Sikandar Sultan Raja said that appointments in Pakistan Railways had been purely on merit after observing relevant rules and policy parameters.
He was addressing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways at Ministry of Railways on Thursday.
The committee met under the chairmanship of Muhammad Moeen Wattoo and approved the minutes of the last meeting including the appointment of lower staff in railways through computerised balloting.
A comprehensive briefing was made by the ministry on Main Line-I (ML-I) under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The meeting was told that the project was approved in 2015, however, PC-I was awaiting approval of the planning division.
The cost of ML 1 would be $8.2 billion, while the project will be completed in three packages in five years.
Under the project, all railway crossings will be removed, and flyover and underpass will be constructed, instead, and fencing will be built around the railway track.
It was further said that ML-1 projects were being financed by both China and Pakistan with 85% and 15% share respectively.
The officials said that a railway line will be laid from Gwadar to Mastung, while another will be laid from Havelian to Khunjerab.
With the completion of the project, the time of journey from Karachi to Lahore will be reduced from 18 hours to 10 hours, while for Lahore to Multan it will be reduced from 5 to 3 hours.
The travel time from Islamabad to Lahore will be lessened from 4.5 hours to 2.5 hours and from Karachi to Hyderabad, will decrease by half an hour.
The body was informed that the speed of train would increase from 120 to 160km/hour and there would also be increase in the number of trains from 34 to 171.
The session was informed that Pakistan Railways currently owned 167,690 acres of land and generated revenue by leasing it through open auction for five years, which was strictly in line with the decision of the Supreme Court for different purposes like agriculture and commercial.
The committee was also told that railways land had been encroached by slum dwellers and other illegal occupants. The chairman after consultation with the members proposed to constitute sub-committee on the issue of encroachment and other related matters.
The body approved proposal for grant of technical allowance to the graduate engineers of Pakistan Railways in line with the one being given to the engineers of two provinces.
It also suggested the Ministry of Finance to process the proposal as the expenditure incurred therein would be borne by the railways.
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