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LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati said that running schools and hospitals was not business of the railways, adding that the departments not giving profit will be outsourced.

While addressing a press conference at Pakistan Railways Headquarters on Saturday, he claimed that freight would be focused and it would be increased from Rs 19 million to Rs 36 million per annum within the short span of time. The minister said he would not spend a penny of the railways on himself; even he would pay fare from his own pocket.

The minister said that railways and postal services were the institutions which were made for business in 1947 but unfortunately they have been converted into charity organizations by the previous governments. “Since 1947, the total deficit of the railways is Rs1.2 trillion,” he added.

He said the PR was now on the track and within 9 to 12 months, the results of the work and policies would be visible. The minister said the railways would progress with the efforts of present honest officers and workers; however experts would be hired to run the department on model basis.

In response to a question, he said that only the chairman senate and speaker national assembly had the authority to summon Chairman NAB for inquiry on any allegation according to the rules, adding that no committee has any right to call any officer.

Reply another question, he said that he had taken over the charge of Railways on the orders of Prime Minister Imran Khan and he (Swati) would serve the department till the completion of PTI government’s tenure on the basis of performance.

He thanked Chairman NAB Justice Javed Iqbal (retd) for his special interest in the corruption cases of railways, and informed that the pending cases would be resolved from seven to ten days.

Azam Khan Swati also called on Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar at CM’s Office. Matters of adopting a joint strategy to retrieve the railways-owned land, promotion of tree plantation on railways and projects under public-private partnership came under discussion during the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021