Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmed Bilour on Friday said that a proposal was under consideration to connect the Gwadar Deep Sea Port through a rail link of Pakistan Railways.
He said feasibility study had been completed under which the Gwadar Port was proposed to link with main railway network at Mastung located on Quetta-Taftan section, while the length of proposed railway link would be 901 kilometres.
During the question-hour session of the National Assembly, he said negotiations were underway with China to lay the railway track, adding that a Chinese company had conducted a survey in this regard while further terms and conditions were yet to be finalized.
He said Pakistan Railways was in dire need to get new locomotives and overhaul the oldones besides improving infrastructure.This deficiency was causing hours-delay in trains arrival and departure, he added.
During the ongoing 30th session of the National Assembly, Bilour had informed the House that the Pakistan Railways had not received the Rs. 11.6 billion grant approved by the Federal Cabinet even after passage of four months, which was essential to improve its efficiency.
“We are in dire need of funds to purchase new locomotives and repair old-ones for improving its countrywide operations,” he said.
Replying to a supplementary question, he said the Ministry was considering a proposal of life insurance for those people who lost their lives in rail related incidents.
He said the entire railway network was being equipped with modern signaling system, adding that Walkie-Talkie Radio sets had been provided to Train Guards and relief trains.
The Minister said installation of VHF radio set at each station on main line from Peshawar to Karachi had been completed. “Installation of VHF Radio on 280 locomotives running with Mail, Express, Passenger and Goods trains has also been completed,” he said.
During last four years, he said, around 644 accidents took place over the Railway network. Out of these, 45 per cent accidents took place at un-manned and manned level crossings, he added.
He said the train service on Sahiwal to Raiwind track would hopefully start by end of this year.
Bilour said that Pakistan Railways was granting 50 per cent concession in economy class and 25 per cent concession in all AC classes to senior citizens who attained the age of 65 years.
“They can avail the concession in all trains except five non-stop trains including Millat Express, Karakoram Express, Karachi Express, Islamabad Express and Margala Express,” he said.
Replying to another question, he said the fare structure of Railways was designed in favour of common people who mostly travel by economy and air conditioned lower classes. Fare is charged at the rate of Rs. 0.78 per kilometer, which is much cheaper as compared to road.