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ISLAMABAD: Corruption, mismanagement and neglect are still driving Pakistan Railways into ruin despite tall claims of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as it admitted Friday that total deficit of Railways stood at Rs119.21 billion after passage of two-and-a-half-year since it took over in 2018.

In a written reply, during question hour, the Minister for Railways Azam Swati – who could always be seen talking tall of revamping the cash-starved Pakistan Railways – sheepishly admitted that in 2018-19, the train services suffered losses worth around Rs32.76 billion followed by an increase in losses to Rs50.15 billion.

In a written reply to the House, he said that the first 10 months of the ongoing fiscal year have also witnessed losses of Rs36.28 billion.

The number of trains has been reduced to 84 from 120 during the last two years, adding operations of 36 up and down trains were suspended owing to an increase in the deficit, said the minister while blaming Covid-19 for the operational losses of PR.

The ministry further shared that offers have been extended to run 15 trains privately to avail better business opportunities.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that the government is working to revive Pakistan Railways, adding the private sector is also being involved for this purpose.

Responding to various questions, the parliamentary secretary for national health services, regulations and coordination Nausheen Hamid said that Pakistan had started local production of anti-corona vaccine.

She said that the first batch of CanSino vaccine was currently being manufactured at National Institute of Health (NIH), which would be available for administration to people by end of May.

“Out of total stock of vaccine doses imported, 91 percent were purchased by the government while the remaining nine percent were gifted by China,” she said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Industries and Production Aliya Hamza Malik said that government is developing a National Industrial Policy to strengthen the industrial baseline in the country.

“We’re also revising the auto policy for the growth of the automobile sector,” she added.

The House will meet again on Monday at 4pm.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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