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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati has vowed to turn Pakistan Railways (PR) into a profitable entity within next six to nine months by eliminating corruption, and increasing operations of freight trains.

While addressing a press conference here on Monday, he said that he has been in the Ministry of Railways for the last five months and it has become a for-profit institution for the first time in 50 years.

The purchase of space, bidding and other matters for the construction of the terminals at different places were also in process.

The minister, while lamenting that the PR was earning zero income from its most valuable assets which according to him was land in the past 70 years, said that his Railway police and some other people were involved in illegal occupation of Railways land which will be freed in any case.

He said that the Royal Palm Club was occupied by the mafia while the Supreme Court of Pakistan relinquished its possession after which the Royal Palm Club had turned a loss into a profit.

The whole process is being run on the orders of the Supreme Court and if someone would say anything about it by suing any platform the government will bring such elements to justice, the minister warned.

The minister said that 132,000 people are paid pension in railways.

The prime minister and the finance minister have set aside a separate account for pensions.

The minister said that the trains will run under public-private partnership as we do not have the capacity to run the railways.

How can we run loss-making trains at a loss?

He said all bogies will be auctioned under this project.

The minister said that the ministry has forwarded recommendations to the prime minister for establishment of 150 colonies for the PR employees.

He said that this project is amid at facilitating the laborer who will get the best education and housing facilities in the housing colonies.

He further said that the ministry has finalised a plan of auctioning the railway land for which the bidding system was developed in accordance with the international standards.

The investor will mark the railway land and come to our sale and submit his bid.

Swati said that a system has been in place under which any officer who commits corruption will be caught.

He said that the railway lands worth many billions have been retrieved in Karachi and Hyderabad through Rangers as we do not have a government in Sindh.

The minister conveyed that Rs2.5 billion worth electricity thefts have been controlled through strict monitoring.

The minister, while lamenting about the deplorable condition of the Railways hospitals and schools said, “One can go and see the condition of railway schools and hospitals.”

The minister also said that he is privatizing all the railway hospitals.

The PR employees were involved in many issues and 2,500 cases have been registered against the responsible.

He said that 11 railway petrol pumps have been seized by the mafia.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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