Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Monday he would quit if the deficit was not reduced and the department had to be privatized.
Addressing a meeting with senior media personalities at PR Headquarters here in Lahore, the minister said the PR did not need privatization and if it was needed, he would resign and not take charge of any other ministry. He said that improvement was visible in the department with joint efforts of the ministry, officers and workers and hoped the deficit would be reduced in billions within few months. The Minister said it was decided that no officer from district management group (DMG) would be appointed in the PR and officers within the department would be given responsibilities.
He said that a metro train project in Lahore would be launched with the cooperation of Lahore Development Authority and the Punjab government, adding that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was determined for the project.
He said the train would be run between Kalashah Kaku and Kasur railway stations, adding that new terminals, track and fencing would be installed for the purpose which would make it possible to increase speed and reduce accidents.
The Minister said another project of train from Islamabad, Muree and Muzafarbad with the cooperation of Capital Development Authority was under observation and according to initial studies the project was not so expensive.
Discussing the Karachi circular railways, the Minister said that PPP and MQM had been asked for cooperation for restoration of the service the work on the revival of the service would be started after the availability of finance.
Talking about the real estate sector of the PR, he said that three options were under review about handling land and property issues of the department.
He said the speed of trains on main lines would be increased up to 120 km/hour. The Minister said interference of political leadership for posting and transfer had been removed from the department and all postings and transfers were being made on merit. He said that billions of revenue could be earned if security on track in Balochistan improved and trains could be operated from China to Central Europe.
He appreciated the efforts of Inspector General of Railway Police Ibne Hussain for security and work against corruption and encroachment.
He said the PR would earn from the freight service and facilitate passengers. He said the fare of economy and air-conditioned classes was being reduced to attract more passengers.
The minister said Lahore, Rawalpindi and Karachi Cantt railway stations were being converted into model railway stations where all modern facilities would be provided to passengers.
He said that 13 railway stations had been declared high security zones and all possible measures would be taken for the security of passengers. He told the media men that 58 latest high RPM locomotives
had been ordered to a chinese company from which 23 locomotives would arrive in the first phase and the rest would be imported after satisfactory performance of locomotives.
He said train managers were being appointed in trains who would not only take decisions on the spot but also resolve issues of passengers.
The minister announced a heritage council which would consist of educationists and intellectuals and it would ensure linkage of railways construction with its historical position and art.
He said Quaid-e-Azam (RA) had approved lemon yellow and green colour for railways so all other colours in trains and platforms would be changed according to the approved colour.
Later, PR General Manager Anjum Pervaiz gave a presentation on the performance of the department.
PR Acting Chairman Parveen Agha and Senior officers including PR AGM Traffic Javaid Anwar Boobak, Zubair Shafi Ghauri, Hamididdin Razi and others were present.
The meeting was attended by several senior anchors, columnists and editors.