ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Railways has been planning to lay fibre optics cables along the railway tracks across the country, in a joint venture with private sector investors to generate revenue for the department. “Pakistan Railways has around 7,791 kilometres railway network across the country which will not only help the department to improve its financial condition but also attract investors to invest,” the official sources in the Ministry told APP. They said the matter also came under discussion during a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), in which the Ministry of Railways pointed out that the department was offering an excellent opportunity for laying fibre optics cables along its track for digital connectivity across the county. During the meeting, they said Pakistan Railways informed that it has a network of 7,791 km, which passes through high-density population areas and connects major cities in the four provinces. They said with the average assets and hefty pension bills, Pakistan Railways contended, but its financial health was deteriorating, and unless new revenue sources were identified, the reliance on government subsidy would keep on growing. The sources said that Pakistan Railways was of the view that right-of-way charges on fibre optics cables would offer the department a decent source of earnings. They said that the Ministry of Railways had already sent a summary to the concerned quarter for adoption of the business model of laying fibre optics cables in a joint venture with private-sector investors on railway land due to poor financial health and limited earning sources. Then, the sources said that the concerned quarter, while agreeing to the proposal, directed the Ministry of Railways to prepare a new draft policy in consultation with all stakeholders, which would have a positive impact on developing the digital economy, and place the matter before the ECC for review.