LAHORE Convener of the Special Committee of the Public Accounts Committee on Pakistan Railways Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has said the PR authorities have to justify the increase in fares. Pakistan Railways will have to justify the increase prior to the final approval from the government. Ayaz Sadiq said this while talking to reporters at Railway Headquarters here on Saturday. Earlier, he headed a meeting with other committee members, Railways and FIA officials, and reviewed the previous annual audit reports of the department. Pakistan Railways Thursday had announced the increase in fares from 10 per cent to 30 per cent, adding the decision would be implemented after consultation with the ministry of finance and Special Committee of the Public Accounts Committee on Pakistan Railways. The PR had also proposed the removal of 20,000 workers to bring out the department from the prevailing economic crisis. Ayaz said the PAC would not allow the department to be shut down at any cost. We advised the PR administration to control corruption and unnecessary expenditures instead of sacking the workers. However, Sadiq said if the sacking was necessary it should be started from upper level. How we could deprive thousands of workers from their livelihood without justification, he added. He said the Railway was the most economical and affordable means of transport and 'we would not allow shutting down the department at any cost. He said he would call a meeting of the finance secretary, the chairman planning division and the chairman PR on the issue. Responding to a question, he said none from the previous government had tried to rectify the situation of Railways which was a national asset. He said the government had approved Rs 13 billion as PSDP but just Rs 1.2 billion were released in the last six months. He requested the government to release the rest of the amount to the PR if it wanted to save it. He said the department had not yet been granted final approval of increasing fares by the government and it was allowed to increase fares by its own but it would have to justify the increase. The convener further said the case of closure of trains was in the Supreme Court so the PR administration was not authorised to close any train before a decision by the court. At meeting, the committee members recommended repairing of 145 locomotives instead of purchasing new ones. The PAC was of the view that repairing cost would not be more than Rs 6 billion while the purchasing cost would be much high than the repairing cost. The embezzlement of 11 radiators in Rawalpindi division was also discussed in the meeting and the committee had given 15 days to the PR and police to take action against people involved in the embezzlement. Regarding corruption in selling scrap, the FIA informed the committee it had recovered Rs 50 million and other amount would also be recovered soon. The committee had warned and directed the PR administration not to close any train without the consultation of elected members concerned such as the MNA of the areas/section. The committee advised the PR administration to control fraud, expenditure and embezzlement in the department instead of sacking employees.