ISLAMABAD: The Minister of Railways, Azam Khan Swati, on Monday said that not an inch of rail land would be sold but could be outsourced under a public-private partnership to generate revenue.
Responding to a press conference here on Monday, the minister said Pakistan Railways property is a valuable asset of the state, which will be used properly to turn the department into a profitable organization. He said Pakistan Railways would hold a presentation to attract investors to launch the project under a private public partnership on April 1 at the Governor’s House, Karachi. Likewise, they are making efforts to outsource their land in the Rawalpindi Division whose presentation will be held at the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on March 26 where investors will most likely participate, he said.
The minister said that corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement had destroyed Pakistan Railways and now that according to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision, the department will introduce an automation process. “We are focused on digitizing Pakistan Railways and within one month, the ticketing system will switch to smartphones,” he said. He said all major railway stations under the public private partnership project and with the help of the Frontier Works Organization would be converted and turned into business centers such as international railway stations.
Swati claimed that railroad rehabilitation work was also being carried out to avoid accidents and make rail travel safe and healthy. For a question, he said Pakistan Railways would outsource the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club to generate revenue and thanked the Chief Justice for ruling the case on merit.
Azam Swati further said strict action according to the law would be taken against corrupt and negligent officials who failed to fulfill their official responsibilities. The minister said unions were not a hindrance to the progress and prosperity of Pakistan Railways, adding that housing projects would be completed soon for the welfare of workers. “No Pakistani Railway workers will be fired and all possible steps will be taken for their welfare,” the minister assured. The minister said Pakistan Railways would pursue all 1,500 pending cases at NAB and added a special cell had been set up in the department to handle about 2,500 pending investigations on a priority basis.