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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Railways has constituted a special sub-committee to finalise Terms of Reference (ToRs) on the construction of the freight terminal at Port Qasim, Karachi.

The panel meeting was held here under the chairmanship of Muhammad Moeen Wattoo to discuss various matters pertaining to Pakistan Railways (PR) including poor tracks in various parts of the country, especially in Sindh, South Punjab, and Balochistan. The committee also approved the minutes of its meeting held on 5th October 2022.

Officials, while briefing the panel, said: “We are desperate to extend PR’s physical approach to industrial units situated in Multan, Sialkot, Lahore and other parts of the country as the containers will be unloaded from the ships and put on a train that will deliver them to the customers at their factory gates”.

The PR officials further informed the panel that Prime Minister (PM) Shehbaz Sharif has directed the completion of the project to connect Thar coal mines to the Railway line by March 23, 2023, for transportation of local coal to the power plants. The officials said that the completion of all such projects will help PR to come out of the financial crisis and play a significance role in national development.

The officials said that the government is considering several new terminals for the freight service with the collaboration of the Karachi Port Trust.

The committee members said the new service would open new avenues of trade opportunities for not only PR but also for all the industries in the country and will triple the container transport for Pakistan. The project, if completed will transport millions of containers and create more jobs and revenue. They also expressed hope that the initiatives would make railways a profitable institution of Pakistan in the next six months.

The PR officials also briefed the panel on the status of the Implementation made by the committee in previous meetings. The committee also discussed the condition of the railways track after the recent flood in the country.

The committee was briefed that tracks in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab were damaged badly at 10 locations and the same have been rehabilitated at seven points from the resources of Pakistan Railways and train operation is continued successfully.

Calling attention notice moved by Qadir Khan Mandokhail, MNA regarding handing over the administration of the Railways school near Kala Pull, Karachi was discussed in detail as the Railways informed that the extension has been given again for three years. The Committee pended the same for the next meeting at Karachi.

The Ministry of Railways informed the panel that after the completion of an initial period of their contract appointment, they have been given an extension after every year on regular basis and recently they have been given an extension up to 09-05-2023.

Divisional Superinten-dent Railways, Lahore informed the committee that the matter for de-sealing of the shops is under process as the occupants of shops were asked by Railways to deposit a fixed amount along with an affidavit that upon the approval of rent policy, they will pay the outstanding rent to railways.

The representative of the Multan Railways division briefed the committee about the grievances raised by the committee members for the supply of material to railways but the Multan division referred the case to FIA for inquiry in the matter.

The committee members said that if the railways officials did not resolve the problem the committee will take serious action and ensure the resolution of the grievances of the committee members which are directly related to the masses.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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