Islamabad - Announcing the closure of Mughalpura Railways workshop from Wednesday, the Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed has said that there are less chances of lockdown to end on April 14.

“In Mughulpura Railways workshop a Corona case was detected on the basis of that we have decided to close it till April 12th,” Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said while addressing a press conference here.He said that 10000 laborers are working in Mughulpura Workshop and there will continue to get their Salaries.

Besides, he said the workers above fifty years of age at Carriage factory, Diesel workshop factory and Risalpur factories may also go on leave. The employees over 50 years who opt for leave will also get their salaries, he added.

Pakistan Railways is incurring a loss of Rs one billion weekly due to lockdown, but it is a national issue, he said. On the last day before lockdown around 165000 passengers were transported from Karachi to across Pakistan. However he said that the federal government has agreed to partially subsidies the losses which is being incurred during current lockdown. The Minister has assured to provide timely salaries and pensions to railways employees despite losses being incurred during lockdown.

The minister said if the lockdown is lifted on April 14, they are ready to operate 22 passenger trains from April 15. However he said that there are less chances of lockdown to end on April 14.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad dismissed reports of a rift between sugar baron Jahangir Tareen and Prime Minister Imran Khan, insisting that Tareen is an important member of the party. “Jahangir Tareen is an important member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). I don’t think there are differences between him and the prime minister,” Rashid told a press conference on Wednesday.

“PM Imran has made it clear he will not spare those responsible for the sugar and wheat crisis in the country” Rashid said.

“In the past, many had benefited from subsidies provided. When the [forensic] report will be  issued on April 25, everything will be in front of everyone.”

About the coolies of Pakistan railways, he said that “we have 1675 Coolies and I had taken their case to the cabinet, and it was decided that they will be funded through Ehsaas Emergency cash program. Just like other beneficiary every Collie will also be entitled for Rs 12000 which will be paid in the next installment. In the first installment, starting on Wednesday, emergency cash will be paid to those 4.5 million beneficiaries who are registered with BISP since 2008 and 2011, he explained. Regarding the detection of Corona virus case in Mughulpura workshop, the minister said that it was not from workshop but a visitor came over there and he was detected with the COVID-19 positive. Therefore it has been decided to close down the workshop till April 12, and will be re-opened after medical treatment of the area. 

He said Pakistan Railways is continuing its freight service and we have received complaints that passengers are travelling on these train. “We have took notice of the matter and show cause notices have been issued to all those involved and action will be taken against them, he said

Regarding sugar inquiry report he said that decision regarding the Sugar case will be made on April 25 after the arrival of the forensic report. The important thing about forensic report is that it will verify the claim of the sugar mills owners regarding the export of 68.9 percent of subsidized suger to Afghanistan. The forensic report will determine whether such a big quantity sugar was exported to Afghanistan or not, he added.

In the last five years sugar industry had received billion of rupees in term of subsidies and they have to be make accountable for the amount, he added

 During press conference a journalist pointed towards the congestion in the room and violation of the social distancing rule, however the minister said that the seat adjustment were as per the rule but they (the journalists set near to each other).