ISLAMABAD, May 15 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday said fast pace economic activity has started across the country and people of Pakistan were about to witness a revolutionary change
in the years ahead.
Addressing a ceremony to launch a modern "Green Train" service that would ply between Islamabad and Karachi, he said it was a sign that the Pakistan Railways has turned around into an income generating organisation.
The Prime Minister also unveiled a plaque to launch the train that would cover the distance between Islamabad and Karachi in 23 hours and would provide comfortable sleepers, WiFi, meals and newspapers for the passengers. He went around different compartments of the train and appreciated the quality of facilities being provided
to the passengers.
The Prime Minister particularly noted that the Railways was no more a loss making organisation and has started generating income.
He said Rs 18 billion income was generated in financial year 2012-13, that increased to Rs 23 billion in 2013-14. In the current year it has been estimated to be Rs 28 billion, however there were indications that it would go up to Rs 31 billion.
He said the Railways was creating history by launching a new Railway service and appreciated the workers of the organisation who made it a success. He said though a lot has been done, there was still much more that was yet to be done.
He said Green Line should be treated as an experimental project and said more such projects need to be undertaken to make cheap, fast rail travel a reality.
He appreciated that all passengers of the new train service would be insured to the tune of Rs one million and hoped the organisation would continue to come up with more facilities for its passengers.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed the hope that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor would benefit from the improvement of services of the Pakistan Railways and would have a service from Kashgar to Karachi.
He said the time was not far when Pakistan Railways would have a train service to Turkey.The Prime Minister lauded the services of Minister for Railways Kh Saad Rafique for turning around the service that was on the brink of collapse and has started generating income while the losses have been drastically cut down.
He also appreciated him for recovery of over 3000 acres, worth Rs 10 billion, of Railways property from land mafia.
He said improvement in organisations emanated not from mere statements, but came from hard work. He expressed the hope that other ministers too would emulate the example set by Saad Rafique.
The Prime Minister also noted the excellent ties Saad Rafique has with its workers and hoped that the employees would work with honesty, dedication and hard work to make the Railways a real success story.
He noted that the toilet of the newly inaugurated train was far better than the ones of the Pakistan International Airlines and said his government was working to make PIA one of the best in the world.
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique in his speech highlighted the success story of the organisation that had almost come to a halt two years back.
The train that was scheduled to leave Islamabad at 3:15 pm left the station on the dot and the Minister Saad Rafique had to pause his speech as the train honked.
The Minister said he was looking forward to make the Pakistan Railways a modern service. He said work on the upgradation of 11 railway stations was underway and the addition of two crore new passengers in last two years was a proof that people rely on the service.
He said in a major improvement the Railways now has a stock of fuel for at least 2-3 weeks and measures were afoot to improve it further.
He said there was improvement of 10 percent in punctuality and number of engines has increased from 160 to 280. He said the income of Pakistan Railways in current financial income has risen to Rs 28 billion and was expected to touch Rs 31 billion.
Saad Rafique said around Rs 2 billion have been recovered by the Railways, while an estimated Rs 1-1.5 billion less losses were expected in the current financial year.
He said not even a 'marla' of Railways land has been sold, while 3100 acres of land has been recovered. He said Railways was not defaulter of any other organisation and merit was being strictly adhered to in all affairs.
He specifically lauded the workers union for not interfering in the administrative affairs and for working hard to make their organisation a success story.
He regretted the trend of agitational politics in the country and said no sit-ins, protests and baseless accusations could deter the current leadership of the country in embarking on development projects across the country.
Chairperson of Pakistan Railways Perveen Agha said the organisation was writing a new chapter in its history by launching a new train service with all modern amenities and expressed the hope that under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Minister for Railways, it would soon turn into a profitable organisation.
She said Pakistan Railways would play its due role in making the China Pakistan Economic Corridor a success.
The new train will leave the Islamabad Railway station at 1515 hours and will arrive at Karachi station at 1430 hours, making a 23-hour journey. It would have stopovers at the railway stations of Rawalpindi, Lahore, Khanewal, Bahawalpur, Rohri and Hyderabad.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, Science and Technology Minister Anusha Rehman, State Minister for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan, parliamentarians and Pakistan Railways officials were also present.