Private sector investment crucial for Railways’ improvement: president


ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday underscored the need for inclusion of private sector for development of Pakistan Railways.

Addressing a ceremony after inaugurating the local train Dhabeji Express in Karachi, he said during his recent visit to Turkey, the Turkish private sector has shown a great interest in the public-private ventures with Pakistan.

He said a number of aspects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are related with Pakistan Railways and we need to work harder for the development of the department.

He asked the Federal Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid, who is to visit China with Prime Minister Imran Khan to deliberate on new railway initiatives for the uplift of Railways.

Earlier in his address, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that we will bring the railway out of debt within a year.

He said the train is a gift from the PM for the labourers. He said a new tracking system is being introduced in Railways that would help lessen the misuse of oil in railways.

Earlier on Tuesday, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had announced that a special train will be run from Karachi to Dhabeji to ensure comfortable, fast, secure and less expensive movement of workers between Karachi and this border town of Thatta district located at the National Highway.

It was further announced that on the first day of the starting of the train, the travel would be absolutely free.

The minister said that the fare would start from Rs25. However, Pakistan Railways would offer a monthly travelling pass to the workers at a subsidised rate. It would cost Rs22 per day to a worker.

This nine-bogie train would start at 6: 15 A.M from Dhabeji and at 7:00 A.M from Karachi.

The minister had also hinted a fast track train between Karachi and Hyderabad would also be started soon. Later on, this service would be expanded to Sukkur. Another train from Karachi to Sukkur would be run shortly.

The government has also planned to run service and time efficient Rehman Baba train between Karachi and Peshawar, as the existing train service has lost its value, Sheikh Rasheed had said, adding that the number of freight trains would be increased to 15 as Pakistan Railways could only be profitable when its freight service would be strengthened and upgraded.

The plan to run fast track train between Quetta and Taftan was also shared by the minister for which a regional headquarters of the Pakistan Railways would be set up in Quetta was announced.

He had said the government would welcome private investment, specially for freight trains service.