Swati blames Sindh police for encroachments on railway land

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Federal Railway Minister Azam Khan Swati on Saturday accused the Sindh police of facilitating encroachments on the land of the Pakistan Railways in the province.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi on the last day of his five-day visit to the city, he said the Pakistan Railways had successfully removed encroachments from its major pieces of land in Karachi that after a great deal of efforts.

Sharing his observations, Swati pointed out that labourers were living a miserable life in the slum areas of the city and the provincial police was busy in encroaching upon the railways land. Regarding the railway police, he said they were performing their duties and clearing the Pakistan Railways’ land of encroachments.

The railway minister lamented that during the last five months alone, the Pakistan Railways had suffered a loss of Rs17 billion. He said the government was currently unable to run the Pakistan Railways’ hospitals and schools.

“We are making efforts to end the financial crisis of the Pakistan Railways through its own assets,” he said, adding that if the income of the Pakistan Railways was not increased, its condition would be no different than that of the Pakistan Steel Mills.

Swati said that during the last four days of his stay in Karachi, he visited different departments of Pakistan Railways, monitored how things were being managed and issued some directives for their improvement.

The federal minister pledged to make the Pakistan Railways a profitable institution and double it freight within its own resources. “Our assessment can be done best by the media,” he said.

He also stated that he did not own any business in Pakistan but had some business in the United States. He added that he was bringing money to Pakistan.

Swati also visited the Karachi Circular Railway’s (KCR) Gulbai Station and monitored work on the KCR project. He said he was trying to personally monitor all the railway issues.

He assured that he would double the freight of the Pakistan Railways in two months. “We will give full attention to our fleet. There are railways tracks available which have not been brought under use,” he said, adding that as a minister, he did not have a magic wand that he could use to resolve all the problems and he was bound to perform all his duties under the law.

Many of the national and international firms, he claimed, were in contact with the government for the revival of the KCR. He shared that he would visit Uzbekistan on January 11 to discuss ways to upgrade the Pakistan Railways’ network.

Swati stressed the need for resolving financial issues of the Pakistan Railways through its own resources and increase its revenues.

Swati also pledged to take action on the power theft of Rs2.5 billion in the railways and asked officials to take action against the diesel theft in his ministry.

He stated that the website of the Pakistan Railways was being updated and very soon development programmes for the Pakistan Railways would be announced under public private partnership at the Governor House.

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